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Soc Work Health Care. 2015;54(1):65-81. doi: 10.1080/00981389.2014.966882.

Low health literacy and older adults: meanings, problems, and recommendations for social work.

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a Countryside , Illinois , USA.


Many older adults struggle to manage their health care problems. Low health literacy exacerbates such struggles and contributes to a variety of adverse health behaviors and outcomes. Addressing how health literacy impinges on the lives of older adults is a neglected area of social work practice and knowledge. This article explores seven areas: defining health literacy, the problem and prevalence of low health literacy among older adults, health inequalities and health literacy, a brief literature review, neglected issues in the literature, suggestions for macro and micro social work interventions to improve health literacy for older adult populations, and conclusion.


communication with health care providers; functional health literacy; geriatric social work; health education; health inequalities; literacy; social work interventions; well-being of older adults

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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