Online Program

Environmental health perceptions among older adults in rural communities

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:18 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Elaine T. Jurkowski, MSW, PhD, School of Social Work, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
Dhitinut Ratnapradipa, M.P.H., Ph.D., Department of Health Education, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
Gholum Makhdoom, M.P.H. Candidate, Department of Health Education and Recreation, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
Mary Helen Hogue, MSW, Department of Health Education, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
Background: Environmental health impacts different populations according to related risk factors and behavioral patterns. Environmental factors which may impact older adults include: indoor air quality (asthma, carbon monoxide), injury prevention, food safety, and chemical exposure (from a variety of sources, including pharmaceuticals and cleaning products). This study intended to assess environmental health awareness in older adults in Southern Illinois based on their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Methods: Following Internal Review Board approval of the study, approximately 250 respondents were recruited from a pool of healthy, active older adults who attend Senior Nutrition sites for noon meals at selected Senior Nutrition Sites (generally sponsored by community senior centers) in the lower 13 counties of Southern Illinois. Following a brief overview presentation, all attendees at the selected meal were given a folder of home safety materials and invited to participate in the survey. The 64-item survey included sections on Demographics, Knowledge, and Attitudes/Beliefs and attempted to understand the perceptions of older adults living in rural communities. Results: Survey results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests and ANOVA. Discussion/Summary: Results suggested areas within which older adults in rural communities may be at a health risk within their environment due to their perceptions of environmental health practices. Results .will be used to develop educational materials targeted to the needs of this population. Results will be shared with the senior centers via short newsletter articles to provide environmental health literacy.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Identify environmental health perceptions of lder adults living in rural communities. Discuss how these perceptions can be addressed through environmental health literacy.

Keyword(s): Environmental Health, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professor who has worked extensively with older adults, and specifically have collected data for this study. In addition, to the data collection, I helped conceptualize the study, developed the intervention, and worked with the data analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3316.0: Rural Aging Issues