Introspection into the nutritional health status and activity of daily living (ADL) indicators for older South Carolina residents
Haltiwanger, Christine Barr
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The National Institute on Aging (NIA) Director announced in 2012, that approximately 39 million Americans are aged 65 and older (Hodes, 2013). The predicted number of older adults, 65 and older, in the United States in the next twenty years is staggering at over 72 million or nearly 20% of the entire population (CDC, 2013). The NIA attributes this exceptional population growth to the growing number of aging “baby boomers” as well as an increased life span due to medical advancements. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and degenerative illnesses older adults are faced with greater physical and financial burdens than in previous decades (CDC, 2013). These burdens impact not only the individual, but also the health care system at large. Older adults predominately utilize Medicare to cover healthcare costs, but this resource is limited and finite (Bryant et al., 2006). As the older adult population grows so do the demands for services such as healthcare, transportation, food, shelter, and social support. In anticipation of these demands, public health professionals are connecting older adults with community programs which promote healthy aging through provision of personal, societal, cultural, economic, and environmental services (Wilcox et al., 2000). In accordance with the Older American’s Act of 1965 (OAA), the South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging (LGOA) serves as the designated State Unit on Aging (SUA) for South Carolina. As such, they are charged with administering and delivering the coordination of services as well as acquiring data to allow greater anticipation and development of future older adults programs and services. This study was designed to answer the question, “what is the relationship between receipt of SUA services such as home-delivered meals, group meals, home care visits, transportation, and health promotion activity services with clients’ self-reported activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), and nutritional status scores?” A longitudinal study design was used to guide ANOVA and regression analysis of data collected from clients by LGOA staff. Findings can inform future program evaluation efforts as well as future program development.