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Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging$
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Barbara Berkman and Sarah D'Ambruoso

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173727

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173727.001.0001

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Elders Living in Poverty

Elders Living in Poverty

(p.167) 14 Elders Living in Poverty
Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging

David E. Biegel

Sylvia Leibbrandt

Oxford University Press

Despite the advent of various federal-level income support and social service programs that have had positive effects in reducing the extent of poverty among older adults, poverty among the elderly is still a significant problem. Given the heterogeneity of the elderly population, poverty is of particular concern among elderly women, elders who are 75 years and older, elders of color, and elderly persons living in rural communities. This chapter reviews the extent of poverty among the elderly and discusses the characteristics and needs of vulnerable older populations. Of significant concern to social workers is the underutilization of health, mental health, and social services by older people, especially by those at-risk populations most in need. A framework for conceptualizing service delivery barriers is presented, and the literature concerning the nature and extent of these barriers is reviewed. Practice and service delivery recommendations to address the identified barriers are then presented and discussed.

Keywords:   aging, elderly, poverty, social work practice

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