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New Poll Reveals Serious Gaps in Care for Older Adults

Many older Americans, including those with a regular primary care provider, are not receiving important geriatric services, according to a new poll released by the John A. Hartford Foundation.

In the nationally representative poll of Americans age 65 and older, large majorities report that they have not received depression screening, falls history or counseling, referral to community-based health resources, and other important services that support healthy aging. The poll also explores awareness of the new Medicare Annual Wellness visit and older patient satisfaction.

Other key findings from the Hartford poll include:

  • Only a small number (7%) of older adults surveyed received all seven recommended services mentioned in the poll, all of which are critical elements of a standard geriatric assessment.
  • 52% report receiving none or only one, and a large majority (76%) received fewer than half of the seven services.
  • Depression: 62% of those polled said their primary care provider had not asked about their mood, such as whether they were sad, anxious or depressed.
  • Falls: 75% of adults age 80 or older said their doctor has not discussed how to avoid falling, as did 71% of people taking 5 or more medications.
  • 68% of older adults surveyed had not heard of the new Medicare Annual Wellness Visit benefit, or were not sure if they had heard it. Only 17% said that they had had their Annual Wellness visit. (In fact, Medicare’s records suggest that uptake is only 6.5%.)
  • 93% of older adults surveyed said that all medical and nursing students should be required to take classes and training in caring for older people and 67% also said they believed they would “get better care” if their doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals had more geriatrics training. 

Please visit for a complete list of findings from the poll.

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About the Hartford Foundation
The John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of health care training, research and service system innovations that will ensure the well-being and vitality of older adults. Its mission is to improve the health of older Americans. Today, the Foundation is America’s leading philanthropy with a sustained interest in aging and health. For more information, go to

Posted On: 
May 4th, 2012