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Wealth Health and Socioeconomic Status Discussion

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Health & Medical

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The “wealth-health” gradient becomes more pronounced as people age. “Socioeconomic status
(SES) is intimately tied to healthy aging, with greater wealth producing a greater likelihood of
health among older adults” (McMaughan et al., 2020). This association may be due to the
combined effects of increased stress, trauma, allopathic load, and limited access to appropriate
and timely healthcare. Low SES also contributes to heavier disease burden. For example, poorer
older adults experience more dental disease and disability. (McMaughan et al., 2020)
It is not surprising that poor health-related quality of life outcomes are significantly associated
with lower SES in the United States, which is possibly driven by limited healthcare access
among poorer older adults. “In a cross-sectional study of almost 50,000 non-institutionalized
older adults, costs were cited as a major reason for not obtaining needed care. Older adults living
in higher socioeconomic brackets are more likely to access preventative care and screenings,
with for example, higher SES older adults experiencing a greater likelihood of having a hearing
screen and using a hearing aid.” (McMaughan et al., 2020)
It is necessary to improve access to healthcare by reducing financial disparities and improving
wealth among older adults. It is a vital first step but should not be seen as the final step in
ensuring global healthy aging. (McMaughan et al., 2020)
Reference
McMaughan, D. J., Oloruntoba, O., & Smith, M. L. (2020). Socioeconomic Status and Access to
Healthcare: Interrelated Drivers for Healthy Aging. Frontiers in public health, 8, 231.
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.00231

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The “wealth-health” gradient becomes more pronounced as people age. “Socioeconomic status (SES) is intimately tied to healthy aging, with greater wealth producing a greater likelihood of health among older adults” (McMaughan et al., 2020). This association may be due to the combined effects ...
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