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Villa VM, Harada ND, Washington D, Damron-Rodriguez J. The health and functional status of US veterans aged 65+: implications for VA health programs serving an elderly, diverse veteran population. American journal of medical quality : the official journal of the American College of Medical Quality. 2003 May 1; 18(3):108-16.
As the US population is aging, so too is the US veteran population. Chief among the challenges facing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is developing health programs and services that mesh with the needs of an aging veteran population and therefore improve the health status of elderly veterans. Meeting this challenge requires an understanding of the health needs of the older veteran population, including health disparities that exist across racial ethnic populations. This study examines the self-rated health and functioning of a national sample of veterans aged 65+ participating in the National Survey of Veterans. The results show that over one half of elderly veterans report difficulty in functioning and rate their health status as fair or poor. Additionally, elderly African American and Hispanic veterans report worse health than non-Hispanic white veterans across the majority of health indicators. Given the health profile of older veterans found in this study, it would seem necessary that programs serving older veterans be adept at the ongoing medical management of chronic disease and the provision of long-term care services.