Are Elderly Population Healthy? : A Mixed Method Study from North Gujarat, India
Background and Objectives: Currently, more than 12% of the Worlds elderly Population lives in India. It is projected that the proportion of elderly Indians will rise from 7.5% (91.6 million) in 2010 to 11.1% (158.7 million) in 2025. Morbidity patterns by age clearly indicate that the elderly experience a greater burden of ailments. With increasing elderly population and morbidity pattern, this study aims to understand the health status of the elderly population and its predicting factors in rural areas of northern Gujarat, India.
Methods: It was a mixed method study conducted among 410 elders for quantitative component and 9 elders for qualitative in-depth interview during 2014-15. A structured questionnaire & in-depth interview guide were administered in vernacular language by trained social workers. Thematic analysis was conducted for qualitative data. Multivariate regression analysis was conducted with significant level of 95% CI in R version 3.0.1.
Results: Self-reported health status was found to be poor among one third elderly. The multivariate regression analysis indicates that females, belongs to Schedule Caste/ Schedule Tribe, lives in nuclear family with poor economic conditions, not getting choice of food, having dispute & less social importance have higher likelihood of odds to have poor health status.
Conclusion: One-third of elderly reported poor health status in this study from Northern Gujarat. There is a growing need for interventions to ensure the health of this vulnerable group and to create a policy to meet the care and needs of the disabled elderly. Further research, especially qualitative research, is needed to explore the depth of the problems of the elderly.
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