Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Functional Ability, Participation in Activities and Life Satisfaction of the Older People

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Functional Ability, Participation in Activities and Life Satisfaction of the Older People

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study determined whether the functional ability and participations in activities affect the life satisfaction of the older people. Data were gathered from the 780 older people through survey interview, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale and Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age Scale.

The functional ability, participation in physical activities and activities with formal support networks are statistically significant predictors of life satisfaction among the older people. These variables, when combined explain a statistically significant portion (23.7%) of the variance in their life satisfaction. The older people who have better health status enjoy their lives more than those who have poor health conditions. After reaching the age of sixty, the older people are still capable of working and be active participants in the labor sector. The results have theoretical implications on the activity theory of aging since high levels of participation in the activities mean high levels of life satisfaction.

Keywords: Social support networks, Activity theory, Life satisfaction, Activities of the older people, Functional ability

1. Introduction

The study of aging is a development that could be attributed to the significant increase in the older populations of many societies (Holowaty, 2007). More and more individuals are arriving at the threshold of the third age - the period of life that begins when the responsibilities for the care of others has ended and ends with decrepitude, debility and death (Laslett, 1996). Understanding the meaning of aging that is experienced in the third age of life, the influences that bring about a more positive internal sense of what is happening, and an acceptance of the inevitable aging process are areas of research that can benefit all adults (Barrett and Murk, 2006).

According to Cruz (2007), the aging of the world's population has assumed significance in recent years particularly in countries that have gone farthest in the demographic transition. The unprecedented high level and tempo of aging observed in many countries have spelled tremendous implications on the bigger socio-cultural and economic milieu, particularly in the area of health care and health financing, which explain the amount of research attention that this demographic phenomenon is receiving today.

While coping with a rapidly increasing population, a sluggish fertility decline, a steadily improving life expectancy and a highly mobile workforce, the Philippines has to face yet another demographic issue - a predictably growing number of older persons (Ogena, 2006). Cruz (2007) emphasized that the level and rate of aging in the Philippines is low and slow in comparison with that of other countries which have experienced more dramatic demographic transitions like Germany and Japan where almost a fourth of their population belong to the older age groups. While aging prevalence in the Philippines may be relatively low, this is expected to asume prominence in the future with the number reaching a double-digit mark in 2020 under the assumption of a moderate fertility and mortality decline. This future scenario is likewise suggested by the fast rate of growth of the older population sector, which already exceeds that of the general population, making it the fastest growing sector in the country's population today (Cruz, 2005; Cruz, 2007).

Life satisfaction is probably the most often-used indicator of effective adaptation to aging. If older people are satisfied with their present and past lives, they are seen as having adapted to aging (Atchley, 1994). Belsky (1984) had stressed that life satisfaction varies greatly from person to person as there are many factors that impinge on the well-being of the individuals. Among these factors are the physical decline in old age and poor health, the economic anxiety, the social isolation and the other personal problems brought about by the society. …

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