Low-Income Older Adults' Health Challenges and Their Aging in Place

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Sung-Jin Lee


Family and Consumer Sciences

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019


According to AARP, the majority (88%) of older adults want to age in place for as long as possible. Aging in place is defined as the ability to live in one's own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably. However, older adults, particularly those having low-incomes, may face challenges when pursuing aging in place due to their declining health. Thus, this study was aimed to examine how low-income older adults' health challenges affect their aging in place. An interview with open-ended questions was conducted with 55 older adults (their annual income = less than $25,000), and a content analysis was employed to define health challenges. Results showed that the most frequently cited health challenges were related to blood (26) (blood pressure, blood clots, and circulation), followed by diabetes (22) and lungs/breathing (16). Health challenges were also discussed in terms of difficulties performing daily activities of living (23). Even though the majority experienced health challenges, they received little to no public assistance. Health concerns and difficulty performing daily activities along with limited resources are likely to negatively impact their desire to age in place. These findings reflect the need for more resources and programs geared towards low-income, older adults. Understanding the health challenges of low-income, older individuals and factors that influence their ability to age in place is beneficial in assessing the future needs of the older population.

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