Prevalence of Psycho-Social Problems among Elderly in Urban Population of Mysore City, Karnataka, India

Article excerpt

Byline: Prakash. Boralingaiah, Prashantha. Bettappa, Shraddha. Kashyap

Background: The reduction in fertility level, reinforced by steady increase in the life expectancy has produced fundamental changes in the age structure of the population, which in turn leads to the aging population. Objectives: To know the psycho-social problems of the elderly in urban population of Mysore; to determine the extent of functional impairment among the elderly and to know the psychological distress of the elderly using GHQ score. Materials and Methods: This community-based cross-sectional study was carried out at the field practice area of Urban Health Center , JSS Medical College, Mysore . The study population comprises of all geriatric population aged 60 years or above who were residing in the study area for atleast one year. 526 study subjects were recruited for the study. Data collection was done from May 2011 to December 2011 using a preformed semi-structured schedule. Data was entered into Microsoft Excel and statistical analysis is carried out using SPSS-17 version. Results: 162 out of 207 elderly men (78.3%) were more functional than 240 out of 319 aged women (75.2%). Severe functional impairment was almost same in both gender (4%) while moderate imparement was noted slightly more among aged women. The functional score was significantly higher for young old, for literates, for middle class and for employed. Anxiety and insomnia were found in 3.4% of the aged (males 2.4% and females 4.1%) followed by somatic symptoms 2.9%, social dysfunction 1.5% and severe depression 1.1%. All psychological distress were found more among elderly women. The prevalence of mental illnesses were found to be significantly higher for age more than 75 years. Conclusions: Awareness among the elderly population should be created for regular medical check-ups to ensure prevention and early detection of the chronic diseases. There is a need to have geriatric wards having specialized professionals with psychiatric and medical social workers along with subsidized health care services.

Introduction

Elderly or old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings. The boundary of old age cannot be defined exactly because it does not have the same meaning in all societies. Government of India adopted 'National Policy on Older Persons' in January, 1999. The policy defines 'senior citizen' or 'elderly' as a person who is of age 60 years or above. The elderly population (aged 60 years or above) account for 7.4% of total population in 2001. Both the share and size of elderly population is increasing over time. From 5.6% in 1961 it is projected to rise to 12.4% of population by the year 2026.

The reduction in fertility level, reinforced by steady increase in the life expectancy has produced fundamental changes in the age structure of the population, which in turn leads to the aging population. The needs and problems of the elderly vary significantly according to their age, socio-economic status, health, living status and other such background characteristics. Various studies have been conducted to analyze the health and related issues associated with old age, which needs further exploration, so the present study was focused on various socio-demographic profile and its association with psycho-social problems.

Materials and Methods

Objectives of the study

*To know the psycho-social problems of the elderly in urban population of Mysore *To determine the extent of functional impairment among the elderly *To know the psychological distress of the elderly using GHQ score.

Methodology

This community-based cross-sectional study was carried out at the field practice area of Urban Health Center, located at Medar's block of Mysore city, which comes under the Department of community medicine, JSS medical college, Mysore and it was covering a population of 8000. The study population comprises of all geriatric population aged 60 years or above in the study area, who were residing in the study area for atleast one year. …