Health and Health Related Problems of the Elderly, in Daile Woreda, Southern Ethiopia

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Addis Abeba Universty


There are no studies dealing with the health problems of the elderly In Ethiopia. A cross sectional survey was conducted in Daile Woreda, Sidama Zone, Southern Ethiopia from September to December 1994 to determine the health and related problems in the elderly. One thousand and fifty three elders whose age 60 years and above were selected using multistage sampling procedure and included in the study. The male to female ratio of the study subjects was 1: 1.l7 with a mean age of 70.4 and standard deviation of ± 9.6 years. Eighty seven percent of the study subjects claimed that they were members of social and/or reI igious groups and only 1. 6 % of them I ive alone. Thirty seven percent of the study subjects were taking some forms of modern medication at the time of the interview and 9% of them had a hospital visit in the past one year. Headache, heart burn, problem of mastication and joint pain were found to be the most frequent reported ill health problems. Significant association was observed between certain disease complaints with that of female sex and increasing age. Significant number of elders who were divorced (OR=5.04, CI, 1.30, 19.55) and widowed (OR=12.35 , CI ,2.38, 64.11) are found to be psychotic. Thirty five percent and 16% of the elders were found to be impaired in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) respectively. This impairment is found to be significantly associated with increasing age, in males for IADL (OR=1.95, CI, 1.40,2.72) and in widowed elders (OR= 1.96, CI, 1.34, 2.87) for IADL and (OR=1.77, CI , 1.10,2.85) for ADL. Though the reported prevalence of symptoms of ill health and disability is high , the elders ability to work and support themselves and their families, their living in the extended family and their participation in certain social and/or religious organization was found to be encouraging. Further studies are recommended for identification of specific disease entities causing the largest prevalence of ill health.



Health and Health Related Problems of the Elderly