Age-Friendly Public Health Systems Team Release Policy Brief on Supporting Older Adults in Rural Areas

Aug 30, 2023

A policy brief from the Age-Friendly Public Health System (AFPHS) team at Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), the second in a series of publications dealing with the health and wellness of older adults, outlines the status of older adults living in rural environments and opportunities for public health to support older people. It highlights existing innovations that engage rural older adults and offers recommendations to ensure all older persons, regardless of geographic location, have access to age-friendly public health systems.

Roughly one in five (60 million) Americans and nearly one in five older adults (age 65 and older) live in a rural community. The policy brief touches on issues including workforce, healthcare delivery and access, telehealth and broadband, and many other issues that rural age- and dementia friendly stakeholders may be considering.

Aside from the data, the AFPHS policy brief also includes strategies that could be worked into an age- and dementia friendly action plan on a local or regional level.

The brief suggests that public health practitioners can help to educate diverse stakeholders and groups about rural aging by:

  • Working with service providers and others to educate those living in rural communities about the availability
    of services, health promotion strategies, and health recommendations.
  • Conducting research on the unique challenges and opportunities of rural aging.
  • Developing and implementing programs and initiatives that address the needs of older adults in rural areas.
  • Advocating for policies that support rural aging.

More info and data are available in the full policy brief here.