Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Colin Hollidge

Abstract

This study sought to discover whether or not there is an increased health risk to multi-generational elderly poor not found in first-generation elderly poor. The research design called for a convenience sampling of 100 adults attending community center programs within one of four geographic areas in two Midwestern metropolitan counties identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as being low income. All surveys were to be anonymous, printed in English and completed independently by the survey participants. Survey questions included topics such as belief in parental poverty, perceptions of current poverty status, health issues and barriers to obtaining health care. Older adults living in low-income areas were surveyed in an attempt to uncover a correlation between parental poverty and current affects to health. Survey data collection proved to be more difficult than anticipated due to the lack of community programming for older adults and the time available for data collection. Only twenty surveys were collected and from a single collection site. Study results were statistically insignificant but still provide results which some professionals may find interesting. Survey participant ages ranged between 54 and 91 with a mean age of 71.5. Participants were found to have a mean of 6.86 daily medications. One participant reported being admitted to a hospital or visiting a hospital emergency room nine or more times within the past year. Social workers, health care professionals, community program developers and policy researchers will be interested in the findings of this study for the implications of long-term poverty upon the health of current populations. The quality of life would obviously be significantly impacted by chronic health conditions reported in this study. The financial burden to individuals, supportive programs and greater society could also be affected. Programs designed to break the cycle of poverty and thus prevent the perpetuation of poverty and its impacts to health could make a significant contribution to the quality of life of older adults.

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