Older People

Older people

A number of papers identify older adults as a group who are more at risk of poor health literacy. Older adults are more likely to be consumers of healthcare services but are also at risk of not understanding the health information and guidance that is provided to them in terms of care and medication. 

Examples of identified health literacy related issues in older adults over the age of 60 include:

  • 71% have difficulty using print materials
  • 80% have difficulty using documents such as forms or charts
  • 68% have difficulty interpreting numbers and performing calculations

(National Network of Libraries of Medicine)

In an expert panel report of Improving Health Literacy for older adults, Dr Rima Rudd proposes that professionals:

  • Adjust expectations and demands
  • Consider the wider literacy environment
  • Improve their written and oral communication skills
  • Apply greater rigour when developing tools/materials for older people

(US Department of Health and Human Services)