How Do Social Determinants of Health Impact Health and Wellness?

AAAs play a critical role in helping communities stay healthy by offering programs and services that address the social determinants of health. A recent article from PatientEngagementHIT takes a closer look at the degree to which certain factors such as transportation, food security, housing and income can affect one's health.

Data shows that transportation is the top reason that older adults, caregivers and others contact the Eldercare Locator. And there's a reason this need affects the social determinants of health—access to transportation can directly impact health and well-being. According to the American Hospital Association, 3.6 million individuals missed a medical appointment in 2017 due to a lack of access to transportation. Lack of transportation also denies older adults' access to community wellness opportunities, such as classes or activities offered by AAAs or others. That's why the 2020 AAA National Survey Report shows that 89 percent of AAAs provide transportation services, to help support older adults' well-being and health. The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, a program administered jointly by n4a and Easterseals, fully recognizes the impact of transportation on individual health and actively pursues solutions to provide older adults and people with disabilities with transportation options.

When an individual lacks access to reliable, accessible and affordable housing, it becomes more difficult to manage chronic illness, attend wellness checks and access preventive care. Given the nationwide shortage of affordable housing, it comes as no surprise then that, according to the 2020 AAA National Survey Report, 25 percent of AAAs provide a housing assistance program while eight percent own or operate housing, such as low-income housing or assisted living facilities.

Read more about how certain SDOH impact individual health and wellness in this PatientEngagementHIT article.



USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2023 winners!