A new study in The Journal of Rural Health, focusing on people 85 and older, shows that seniors living in rural areas have an 18% increased risk of disease when compared to those living in urban areas. This disparity is caused by factors such as fewer doctors, fewer specialists, higher doctor caseloads, longer appointment wait time and patients needing to travel a further distance for medical care.
One problem for rural patients is less timely medical access. Conditions that do not receive immediate treatment can spiral into more serious problems. Also, the study found, in rural areas drug prescriptions are not managed as well as in urban areas. The study indicated that the urban seniors lived 3.5 years longer than did their rural counterparts.