A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE NEEDS OF BLACK AND WHITE FUNCTIONALLY-IMPAIRED ELDERLY

MAY ENGLER, Fordham University

Abstract

This study sought to determine similarities and differences in needs of black and white functionally impaired, 60 and over, receiving federally-funded home care services in an urban center, and to determine as well the extent of the interrelatedness of characteristics: physical health, mental health, and functional ability. It also sought to identify patterns of supports and services utilized, requested, and provided for the two study groups (N = 104 black; N = 219 white), and to describe selected demographic characteristics.^ The findings identified a severely functionally impaired, but not homogeneous population receiving far fewer services than they needed. Moreover, black and white elderly are more alike than different in their needs, condition, and services. Although in somewhat better condition than white elderly, black elderly were less likely to receive needed services.^ Black elderly were younger and receiving medical care from municipal hospitals or clinics. Thus, the use of older age (75 and over) as the focus for special services would place an unfair burden on the functionally impaired, particularly black elderly. Regarding medical care, patterns of utilization should be considered before implementing changes to avoid unfair burdens on local populations.^ The study also found a less than perfect relationship between functional ability and either physical or mental health. Since it is possible to measure functional ability on an easily-administered checklist of activities of daily living, this can be important in training programs and service program organization.^ Individual characteristics, however, did not influence the amount of services given to the degree that the structure, or model, of the agency did. The various impairment levels identified among the population require a flexible structure for service delivery offering housekeeping and personal care for a wide range of hours and an indefinite period.^ Funding sources and service providers will have to review their policies and practices to insure the equitable provision of needed services, and educators will have to address the effects of these changes on their curricula and their students. ^

Subject Area

Health education

Recommended Citation

ENGLER, MAY, "A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE NEEDS OF BLACK AND WHITE FUNCTIONALLY-IMPAIRED ELDERLY" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213602.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213602

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