Health Literacy Among Elderly Hispanics and Medication Usage
Health literacy among the elderly Hispanics is a problem for 44% who read at the lowest level due to issues with recognition, cognition, or vision. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent that elderly Hispanics have problems with medication adherence due to health literacy. The social cognitive theory was the framework for this study. Inclusion criteria consisted of being 65-75 years of age, and speaking and/or reading English and/or Spanish. Questionnaires from 156 individuals were completed in Cobb County/Atlanta GA and analyzed using multiple regression to determine the relationship between health literacy and medication usage. Medication adherence was the dependent variable and independent variables were gender, age, Hispanic origin, education, income, income means, health insurance, health literacy, and medication usage. Statistical significance was noted in medication adherence, health literacy, and working full-time. Results were based on the correct answers from health literacy questions, which showed an association between medication adherence and health literacy and a reduction in medication adherence problems among elderly Hispanics who worked full-time. These findings showed a significant association between medication adherence and health literacy level among elderly Hispanics. No medication adherence problems were noted among participants who had good health literacy, unlike participants with poor health literacy. A larger ethnic group may show a variation of problems in future studies. Implications for social change could include recommendations for the use of Spanish language hotlines and reading materials to provide care, knowledge, and medication information assistance.