Language Barriers Prevent Orange County Seniors from Accessing Health Services, Poll Finds
Language barriers, not cultural differences, prevent some Orange County seniors from seeking medical care, using senior centers or "even understanding the basic symptoms" of diseases such as Alzheimer's, according to the first countywide, multilingual poll of seniors released Tuesday, the Orange County Register reports. Researchers at California State University-Fullerton's Institute of Gerontology and Chapman University conducted telephone interviews with 1,035 Orange County seniors and found that language barriers often keep seniors from accessing health services. Some experts said that not offering a multilingual staff can be "more expensive for agencies in the long run." Jack Light, program director for CalOptima, which administers Orange County's Medi-Cal program, said, "We are the payer of last resort, and if we are going to keep our costs under control, we must be able to reach these people with preventive health information" (Haas, Orange County Register, 1/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.