Addressing social determinants of health in adults and seniors

The research conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the PAN Foundation, polled adults and seniors on Medicare about key social determinants of health and their ability to afford various every day needs and bills, including areas where they struggled. The report compares the responses of two groups, summarizing data around financial security, housing, health services, food insecurity, and transportation.  

Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, and work that shape their health, like housing and socioeconomic status. Leaving social factors unaddressed can lead to problems adhering to treatment and poor health outcomes. Conversely, addressing social determinants has the potential to improve patient health outcomes and reduce avoidable healthcare spending. 

Key findings included:

  • Adults and seniors struggle to pay for sudden health emergencies, with 30 percent of adults reporting that they could not afford to pay more than $100 for a sudden health emergency.
  • A third of adults have been concerned over the past 12 months about their ability to feed themselves and/or their family.
  • Adults and seniors with an income of less than $50K are more likely than those with higher income levels to feel concerned about losing housing.
  • Low-income adults and seniors report that they are not receiving eye exams and dental checkups at the recommended frequency because they lack insurance or can’t afford them.