In order to investigate how well-being and ill health is affected by the process of aging, the main aim was to investigate these self-perceived aspects of health over a 10-year period among older Swedish adults. The aim was also to study how these aspects correlated with objectively assessed functional limitations, use of mobility device, person-environment (P-E) fit (also denoted accessibility), problems in housing, and activity of daily living (ADL) dependence. Using the Swedish national population register, a baseline sample of persons aged 75-84 years was identified. Out of the 133 participants at baseline (1994), the 31 participants still available 10 years later were included. The data were collected by means of interview and observation at home visits. Overall, the participants rated their subjective well-being as high and a stable prevalence of ill-health symptoms over time was reported. Changes in subjective well-being as related to changes in functional aspects seem to mainly occur earlier in the aging process, while as time goes by these relations weaken. ADL dependence, however, is more influential in more advanced age. The results confirm the complexity of the construct of health. A main contribution is that the results shed light on the importance of taking the impact of environmental factors into consideration.
This study investigated health-related quality of life, expressed as subjective wellbeing and the prevalence of depressive symptoms and insomnia, among elderly pre-lingually deaf persons using sign language. Comparisons were made with elderly hearing people. Forty-five pre-lingually deaf persons, 65 years or older, took part (a response rate of 46%). Subjective wellbeing was assessed with the Gothenburg Quality of Life (GQL) instrument. Depressive symptoms were rated with the 15-item version of the geriatric depression scale (GDS), and insomnia was measured with Livingston's sleep scale. Ratings of subjective wellbeing among elderly pre-lingually deaf people were generally high. One third of the deaf persons demonstrated depressive symptoms and nearly two thirds suffered from insomnia. There was substantial correlation between insomnia, depressive symptoms and lower subjective wellbeing. The results strengthened the assumption that depressive symptoms and sleep disturbance are more frequent among elderly pre-lingually deaf people using sign language than among hearing people. On the other hand, and contrary to our expectations, this did not imply significantly lower perceived subjective wellbeing compared with hearing elderly people. Results must be interpreted with caution due to limitations in the study.