Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Family Consumer Human Development


Elizabeth Fauth


Joshua Novak


Troy Beckert


This dissertation includes two studies of rural age-related services in the state of Utah. The first study combines geospatial, demographic data (number of people over 55) and age-related services (hospitals, hospice providers, nursing homes, senior centers, and Areas Agencies on Aging) at the county level and census-tract level to determine localized differences in proportional access to age-related services. Higher and lower proportions are then predicted by contextual factors including rural/urban gradient, economic industry, and broadband access. Results demonstrate that broadband access was significantly associated with higher access to age-related services, but being a retirement destination (increase in people over 65 in county from 2000-2010) was associated with lower spatial access to age-related services. The second study involved in-depth interviews with stakeholders from communities across Utah, and qualitative analysis to identify specific barriers to age-related service access in their communities. This approach generated knowledge about challenges to accessing services and stakeholder-supported starting points and solutions for overcoming some of the identified barriers to age-related services in these communities. Taken together, the spatial data and responses from persons living and serving older adults in rural communities complement an understanding of facilitators and barriers to service access, paired with solutions.