A Study on the Living Arrangements of the Elderly

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Dr. Rajitha T., Dr. Dundesh Maled


Introduction: Developments in the study of gerontology have focused on the welfare of elderly people living in families where support and caring are part of the equation. While feeling, providing care, and engaging in supportive activities characterise family life and well-being, living arrangement unhappiness is a public health risk that is growing as the country's older population shares more resources. Living arrangements are an important component of the general well-being of the elderly. Epidemiological research indicates a robust correlation between less family support and higher mortality and worse health outcomes in the senior population. Methods: This was a community-based descriptive cross-sectional study conducted among 310 elderly people aged ≥ 60 years residing in the rural field practice area (Ittamadu, Primary Health Centre) of Raja Rajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Bangalore. The objectives of the study were to describe the socio-demographic characteristics, current living arrangements, role within the family and society, and assess if there is an association between living arrangements and the health status of the elderly. A pre-tested and pre-designed questionnaire was used for the collection of information after obtaining informed consent from the study participants. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics, and chi square was used as a test of significance. Results: The majority of the elderly, 179 (74.27%) who were currently married, were living with their spouses and children, whereas most of the widowed, 27 (44.26%), were living with their children or grandchildren. More than 97 illiterate people (69.29%) were living with spouse and children. In all the socio-economic classes, the majority of the elderly, i.e., 209 (67.42%), were living with spouse and children. Self-rated health in all three dimensions was better among those who were living with a spouse and children or grandchildren. The prevalence of morbidity was found to be higher among those living alone (84.62%) compared to those who were living with spouse and children or grandchildren (82.30%). Conclusion: One of the main factors influencing an older adult's health is where they live. The findings of this study demonstrate that living arrangements have a major impact on predicting older health outcomes. Health care professionals and policymakers should consider this important aspect of social living while making decisions that will affect the health status of the vulnerable elderly population.

Keywords: Living Arrangements; Elderly; Rural Field Practice Area.

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