Although it is known that low-income individuals may have poorer health than their wealthier peers, it is unknown what programs and policies can improve their health outcomes. At the next Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN) seminar, Laura Samuel of Johns Hopkins University will discuss how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) affects health outcomes for low-income seniors.
She will present “The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and Health Outcomes for Low-income Older Adults” Wednesday, Dec. 13, from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the ground-floor conference room of the BioEnterprise Building.
SNAP provides monthly supplemental income that is targeted toward food for low-income households. However, only about 42 percent of eligible low-income adults over age 65 participate. Participation in SNAP has been shown to improve food security for low-income individuals, but other health effects are understudied.
Samuel and fellow researchers recently completed a study to examine whether SNAP participation and benefit levels are associated with reduced subsequent hospital and nursing home utilization in low-income older adults. Among almost 70,000 low-income adults aged 65 years and older, SNAP participants were less likely to be hospitalized or placed in a nursing home in the following year. Among those admitted to either the hospital or the nursing home, SNAP participants experienced shorter stays and had less costly stays. Among SNAP participants, each $10 increase in monthly benefit amounts predicted lower risk of either hospitalization or nursing home admission in the following year.
Together, these results suggest that participating in SNAP and having greater benefits for participants are associated with reduced subsequent hospital and nursing home utilization. SNAP is underutilized, and programs and policies that improve participation and increase benefit amounts may reduce costly health care utilization for vulnerable older adults.
About the speaker
Laura Samuel is an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Much of her research has sought to evaluate how low socioeconomic status leads to high chronic disease burden and accelerated aging. As examples, she has identified features of neighborhood and household environments that may contribute to socioeconomic disparities and has sought to investigate changes in the aging process over time.
Samuel also is evaluating programs and policies that may improve the health of the most socioeconomically vulnerable individuals in communities. Her research interests stem from her clinical experience. As a nurse practitioner, she regularly witnesses the myriad ways a lack of financial resources can be detrimental to health
About the seminar series
The PRCHN Seminar Series takes place on the second Wednesday of the month from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the PRCHN ground-floor conference room of the BioEnterprise Building.
All seminars are free and open to the public. Parking is available.