250249 Holding on: Older Californians with disabilities rely on public services to remain independent

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:42 PM

Kathryn G. Kietzman, PhD, MSW , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Los Angeles, CA
Steven P. Wallace, PhD , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Los Angeles, CA
Eva M. Durazo, MPH , Deparment of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Jacqueline Torres, MPH, MA , School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Anne Soon Choi, PhD , Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Assistant Professor California State University Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles, CA
A.E. (Ted) Benjamin, PhD , School of Public Affairs, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Carolyn A. Mendez-Luck, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health; Center for Health Improvement in Minority Elders/Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Low-income older adults with disabilities in California depend on a variety of public programs to help them remain in their own homes. Last year's state budget reduced the amount of support provided by these programs, and the proposed 201112 budget reduces them further. This paper reports on preliminary findings from a qualitative study that is following a group of California seniors who depend on fragile arrangements of paid and unpaid help to maintain their independence. Data were collected concerning 33 older adults (age 65 and over) who are consumers of public programs that provide long-term in-home care services and supports in four large California counties. These in-depth, face-to-face interviews were usually with the older adult and his or her paid caregiver (who could be related, or not), as well as with an unpaid family member when possible. Data were independently coded by at least two researchers. The results of thematic analyses indicate that the disability needs of these older adults are often unstable, with both their physical and mental health status sometimes changing day to day. Most of these older adults with disabilities have nowhere else to turn for assistance if their public services are cut. Many are in poor physical and/or psychological condition and are just barely managing to live safely in their homes. At the same time, all of them share the common goal of remaining in their homes and maintaining their independence. Public services serve as a crucial link in the support networks of these individuals.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.Identify the interaction of functional and psychosocial care needs among low-income older adults living with disabilities in the community. 2.Describe the key role that public programs play in supporting this vulnerable group of older adults to maintain their independence. 3.Explain how formal long-term care services can supplement and sustain informal sources of support upon which many low-income community-dwelling older adults rely.

Keywords: Aging, Long-Term Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a trained researcher who specializes in the topic of community-based long term care for older adults.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.