Health Disparities of elderly population

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The purpose of this paper is to illuminate and discuss healthcare vulnerabilities of the elderly rural population in Baker County, Florida and describe how the nursing profession can address these problems. Rural health has been a complex and multifaceted challenge for government and healthcare practitioners. The elderly who live alone in the county suffer from low socioeconomic status, low health literacy rates, declining cognitive and physical health and lack of healthcare facilities. The health status of this vulnerable group is impacted by rural culture and social values, healthcare policy and funding affecting rural healthcare facilities, distance and lack of transportation, and health literacy.
A review of current nursing literature, state health department online resources and textbooks were searched to identify health care policy and health disparities affecting rural elderly populations. Online CINAHL database and search engines such as Bing and Google were used with search terms like as “rural elderly”, “health disparity”, “vulnerable populations” “Baker County Florida” and “Northeast Florida”. Additionally, the Florida Department of Health and Healthy People 2020 websites along with nursing textbooks, nursing websites and non-nursing sources were used.
2010 Census statistics for Baker County indicates a population of 27,115 residents, of which 3,226 or 11.9% are age 65 or older (Census 2010). Of these individuals, 10.3% live below the poverty line and are lacking access to healthcare. Surprisingly, when the statistics are subdivided by ethnicity it reveals that 25% of the African American elderly in Baker County live below the poverty line. The rate of dementia among older adults in 2011 was 10.4% and...

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