Term of Award

Summer 2000

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify the perceived unmet needs of the senior citizen populations aged 65 and older in the rural Georgia counties of Bulloch, Evans, Screven, and Tattnall. In order to learn the perspectives of participants, the qualitative methods of focus groups, central location intercept, and an 800 Hotline were used. After a content analysis process, data from ten focus groups of 186 participants, a central location intercept of 26 participants, and 37 callers to an 800 Hotline yielded eight major themes of unmet needs, including transportation needs, prescription drug issues, medical insurance issues, socialization/companionship needs, housing issues, medical care issues, nutrition needs, and recreation/activity needs. Transportation issues were identified by 100 % of focus groups, the central location intercept, and the 800 hotline to be a significant unmet need. Every one of the major themes revealed a subcategory of "costs" associated with it. By determining the perception of unmet needs of this group of senior citizens, health planners can improve and refine existing services as well as develop needed new services for these four counties. This study can serve as a model for other rural counties to investigate their own needs.

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