People aged 70 years and older with limited literacy skills are one and one half to two times as likely to have poor health and poor health care access as people with adequate or higher reading ability, according to a study led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.
Elders with limited literacy, which the researchers define as a reading level lower than ninth grade, were one and a half times more likely than other study participants to report poor overall health and diabetes, and twice as likely to report depression. The study authors note that self-reported health has been found in other studies to correlate strongly with actual health.
The study of 2,512 community-dwelling elders between the ages of 70 and 79 revealed that one in four had limited literacy. In practical terms, these elders "may have trouble reading basic health information or pill bottle instructions," according to lead author Rebecca Sudore, MD, a staff physician at SFVAMC.
Steve Tokar | EurekAlert!
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