educational status, geriatrics, health literacy, patient education



  1. Billek-Sawhney, Barbara PT, EdD, GCS
  2. Reicherter, E. Anne PT, DPT, MEd, OCS


In the United States, there is a high rate of illiteracy disproportionately affecting older adults. This is compounded by chronic disease and sensory changes associated with aging. It is imperative that health professionals involved in the care of the older adult be aware of health illiteracy and be able to address these issues during the provision of care. This article provides an overview of health literacy issues impacting the rehabilitation of the older adult. It offers techniques for recognizing health illiteracy in patients and provides recommendations for creating appropriate patient education materials for this population.