The “oldest old,” age 85 and older, constitute one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the characteristics of U.S. counties with the highest percentage of the oldest old, nearly all of which are rural. We used qualitative analysis of key informant interviews (n = 50) with county commissioners and other county-level representatives from rural counties with the highest prevalence of the oldest old, targeting the 54 rural counties with ≥5% of the population age 85+. We found that the rural counties with the highest proportion of residents age 85+ face unique challenges to supporting successful aging among the oldest old, including resource constraints, limited services, isolated locations, and widespread service areas. Still, interviewees identified particular reasons why the oldest old remain in their counties, with many highlighting positive aspects of rural environments and community.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under PHS Grant No. 5U1CRH03717. The information, conclusions and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and no endorsement by FORHP, HRSA, or HHS is intended or should be inferred.
© The Author(s) 2021.
- aging in place
- service delivery
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article