Nav: Home

Financial literacy linked to lower hospitalization risk in older adults

June 14, 2018

June 14, 2018 - Could being more knowledgeable about finances help to keep you out of the hospital? Older adults with higher financial literacy are at lower risk of being hospitalized, reports a study in the July issue of Medical Care. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

"Our findings support the notion that financial literary - the ability to access, understand, and utilize financial concepts - may represent a modifiable risk factor associated with lower likelihood of being hospitalized in later life," comments lead author Bryan D. James, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.

Low Financial Literacy a Risk Factor for Hospitalization in Later Life

The study included 388 older adults without dementia, enrolled in an ongoing study of factors affecting healthy aging. All participants completed a questionnaire assessing their financial literacy. The assessment included the ability to perform calculations (numeracy) as well as knowledge of financial concepts (stocks and bonds, compound interest, etc).

Financial literacy score was evaluated as a predictor of the risk of hospital admission, with adjustment for a wide range of other factors. During an average follow-up of 1.8 years, 30 percent of the older adults were hospitalized at least once.

Lower financial literacy was associated with a higher risk of being admitted to the hospital. Average financial literacy scores (on a 23-point scale) were 11 points for older adults who were hospitalized versus 13 points for those who were not. The association remained significant after adjustment for a wide range of factors, including income and indicators of physical and mental health.

In the final model, a 4-point increase in financial literacy score (the standard deviation) was associated with a 35 percent lower risk of hospitalization. The only other independent risk factors were older age and problems with daily activities for independent living--for example, cooking and cleaning.

The link between financial literacy and hospitalization risk was mainly related to knowledge of financial concepts, not the ability to do calculations. There association appeared stronger for elective hospitalizations, rather than urgent or emergency ones.

Financial literacy is an essential concept for maintaining independence and quality of life with aging. In addition to its obvious implications for finances, recent studies have linked financial literacy to health status and well-being.

The new study is the first to look at the association between health literacy and hospitalization risk. Based on the findings, "The ability to understand and utilize financial concepts may be important to keeping older adults out of the hospital," Dr. James and coauthors write.

How does financial literacy affect hospitalization risk? The study can't draw any conclusions. Higher income and better health could play a role, but the association remained significant after adjustment for these factors. Based on the association with elective hospitalizations, the researchers suggest that financial literacy might affect medical decision-making and related financial factors, such as which procedures are covered by Medicare or private insurance.

"These findings build on a growing body of research indicating that financial literacy is associated with better health and well-being in old age," Dr. James and colleagues write. They suggest that, with further study, knowledge of financial concepts could be a focus of efforts to lower the likelihood of hospitalization in older adults - either by enhancing financial literacy, or by identifying patients at higher risk of hospitalization who could benefit from other services or counseling.
-end-
Click here to read "Association of Financial Literacy With Hospitalization in Community-dwelling Older Adults."

DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000932

About Medical Care

Rated as one of the top ten journals in health care administration, Medical Care is devoted to all aspects of the administration and delivery of health care. This scholarly journal publishes original, peer-reviewed papers documenting the most current developments in the rapidly changing field of health care. Medical Care provides timely reports on the findings of original investigations into issues related to the research, planning, organization, financing, provision, and evaluation of health services. In addition, numerous special supplementary issues that focus on specialized topics are produced with each volume. Medical Care is the official journal of the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the health, tax & accounting, finance, risk & compliance, and legal sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services.

Wolters Kluwer, headquartered in the Netherlands, reported 2017 annual revenues of €4.4 billion. The company serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries, and employs approximately 19,000 people worldwide.

Wolters Kluwer Health is a leading global provider of trusted clinical technology and evidence-based solutions that engage clinicians, patients, researchers and students with advanced clinical decision support, learning and research and clinical intelligence. For more information about our solutions, visit http://healthclarity.wolterskluwer.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter >@WKHealth.

Wolters Kluwer Health

Related Aging Articles:

The first roadmap for ovarian aging
Infertility likely stems from age-related decline of the ovaries, but the molecular mechanisms that lead to this decline have been unclear.
Researchers discover new cause of cell aging
New research from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering could be key to our understanding of how the aging process works.
Deep Aging Clocks: The emergence of AI-based biomarkers of aging and longevity
The advent of deep biomarkers of aging, longevity and mortality presents a range of non-obvious applications.
Intelligence can link to health and aging
For over 100 years, scientists have sought to understand what links a person's general intelligence, health and aging.
Putting the brakes on aging
Salk Institute researchers have developed a new gene therapy to help decelerate the aging process.
New insights into the aging brain
A group of scientists at the Gladstone Institutes investigated why the choroid plexus contains so much more klotho than other brain regions.
We all want 'healthy aging,' but what is it, really? New report looks for answers
Led by Paul Mulhausen, MD, MHS, FACP, AGSF, colleagues from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) set looking critically at what 'healthy aging' really means.
New insight into aging
Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) of McGill University examined the effects of aging on neuroplasticity in the primary auditory cortex, the part of the brain that processes auditory information.
Aging may be as old as life itself
Aging has had a bad rap since it has long been considered a consequence of biology's concentrated effort on enhancing survival through reproductivity.
A new link between cancer and aging
Human lung cancer cells resist dying by controlling parts of the aging process, according to findings published online May 10th in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
More Aging News and Aging Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 3: Shared Immunity
More than a million people have caught Covid-19, and tens of thousands have died. But thousands more have survived and recovered. A week or so ago (aka, what feels like ten years in corona time) producer Molly Webster learned that many of those survivors possess a kind of superpower: antibodies trained to fight the virus. Not only that, they might be able to pass this power on to the people who are sick with corona, and still in the fight. Today we have the story of an experimental treatment that's popping up all over the country: convalescent plasma transfusion, a century-old procedure that some say may become one of our best weapons against this devastating, new disease.   If you have recovered from Covid-19 and want to donate plasma, national and local donation registries are gearing up to collect blood.  To sign up with the American Red Cross, a national organization that works in local communities, head here.  To find out more about the The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which we spoke about in our episode, including information on clinical trials or plasma donation projects in your community, go here.  And if you are in the greater New York City area, and want to donate convalescent plasma, head over to the New York Blood Center to sign up. Or, register with specific NYC hospitals here.   If you are sick with Covid-19, and are interested in participating in a clinical trial, or are looking for a plasma donor match, check in with your local hospital, university, or blood center for more; you can also find more information on trials at The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. And lastly, Tatiana Prowell's tweet that tipped us off is here. This episode was reported by Molly Webster and produced by Pat Walters. Special thanks to Drs. Evan Bloch and Tim Byun, as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.