Older Adults

Older adults being counseled by a health professional.

Older adults are a diverse group of individuals with a unique set of needs and preferences.

Are You Communicating Effectively with Older Adults?

Do you want to communicate health messages to an older adult audience? Whether you’re developing print or online information, broadcast media or delivering a health presentation, this web site is for you. This section will provide tools and resources to help public health professionals improve their communication with older adults by focusing on health literacy issues. These resources are for all professionals and organizations that interact and communicate with older adults about health issues. These organizations include public health departments, healthcare providers and facilities, government agencies, non-profit/community advocacy organizations, the media, and health-related industries.

Are you ready?

  1. Read CDC’s report on older adults and health literacy issues [2 MB, 56 Pages, 508]
  2. Begin with a self-assessment
Older Adults: Health Literacy Skills

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) indicates the following about older adults’ health literacy skills:

  • 71% of adults older than age 60 had difficulty in using print materials
  • 80% had difficulty using documents such as forms or charts
  • 68% had difficulty with interpreting numbers and doing calculations

We can improve how we communicate with older adults and create materials and messages that match their health literacy skills.

Dr. Lynda Anderson, Director of CDC's Healthy Aging Program

In this podcast, Dr. Lynda Anderson, former Director of CDC’s Healthy Aging Program discusses the importance of addressing health literacy issues for older adults.