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HHS Releases New “Quick Guide to Health Literacy and Older Adults”

As part of Health Literacy month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a new health literacy tool for people who serve older adults. The Quick Guide to Health Literacy and Older Adults is designed to provide useful strategies and suggestions to professionals who work with older adults to help bridge the communication gap between professionals and older adults.

In a national assessment of health literacy, only three percent of the older adults surveyed were found to be proficient in health literacy. Persons with limited health literacy have more adverse health outcomes including less frequent use of preventive services, higher hospitalization rates, and more emergency room visits. For older Americans, difficulties with health literacy can complicate already challenging health problems since as many as 80 percent of older Americans have at least one chronic disease. For more information visit: http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/olderadults/default.htm.

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