In the fall of 2007, the Government of Quebec set up a Public Consultation on Living Conditions of Seniors. Fifty sessions were held in 26 cities across all 17 regions of the province. More than 4000 seniors attended the sessions and 275 briefs were received from scientists and associations. Three themes were identified in the report published in 2008: supporting seniors and their caregivers, reinforcing the place of seniors in society, and preventing problems associated with aging (suicide, abuse, addictions). The main actions that I recommended included: Increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement to prevent poverty; Modifying pension plans and working conditions to allow for progressive retirement; Making a major investment in home care to provide access to services regardless of place of residence; Introducing an Autonomy Support Benefit and autonomy insurance program for financing services to support people with disabilities; Generalizing an Integrated Service Delivery Network providing services to frail older people; Better training for professionals in gerontology. I also recommended setting up a National Policy on Seniors to align all government departments and agencies, municipalities and the private sector around a vision, objectives and a set of actions for improving the integration of seniors in an aging society. This would contribute to a more equitable, interdependent and wiser society. Unfortunately, the Government did not support these recommendations. It is now time for scientists to get involved in leading policy on seniors and in the political arena.
This study investigated the relationship between patients' self-reported illness, daily afflictions, and the frequency of home nursing care, and whether patients' coping resources influenced the allocation of care. DESIGN, SAMPLE AND MEASUREMENTS: A cross-sectional survey was adopted. Two hundred and forty-two people aged 75 years and above receiving home nursing care participated in the study. Binary logistic regression model was used to test the effects of the independent variables on home nursing care.
Poor capacity to perform activities of daily living and high level of education were directly associated with a high frequency of home nursing care. Lack of perceived social support affected the amount of home nursing care allocated only when feelings of loneliness were connected with poor activities of daily living functioning. Interaction effects revealed that perceived social support influenced the amount of home nursing care in persons with higher education, in persons with low education, no such association were found. No associations were found between coping resources and home nursing care.
Impaired capacity to perform activities of daily living was the main reason for care allocation. Education was associated with more formal care. Patients with low perceived social support combined with a low education level was a particularly vulnerable group.
In this article, we explored how five elderly persons with depression engaged in everyday activities with others, over time, and how this was related to their experience of meaning. Repeated interviews and participant observations generated data that was analysed using a narrative approach. Analysis identified togetherness as an acted relation, "enacted togetherness", emphasising how the act of doing everyday activities with someone created togetherness and belonging, and being part of an enacted togetherness seemed to be a way for the participants to negotiate and construct meaning. Opportunities for doing things together with someone were closely associated to the place where the participants lived. Furthermore, engagement in activities together with others created hope and expectations of future acting. Findings from this research can extend our understanding of how participating in everyday activities is experienced as a social process including change over time, presenting the perspective of elderly people themselves. In light of these findings, we highlight the need to consider how opportunities to become part of an enacted togetherness can be created. Also, we aspire to contribute to the debate on how to understand the complexity related to social aspects of ageing and add to the emerging understanding of everyday activities as transactional, incorporating people and the environment in a dynamic process that goes beyond the individual.
Home-based exercise is a viable alternative for older adults with difficulties in exercise opportunities outside the home. The aim of this study was to investigate the benefits of home-based rocking-chair training, and its effects on the physical performance of elderly women.
Community- dwelling women (n=51) aged 73-87 years were randomly assigned to the rocking-chair group (RCG, n=26) or control group (CG, n=25) by drawing lots. Baseline and outcome measurements were hand grip strength, maximal isometric knee extension, maximal walking speed over 10 meters, rising from a chair five times, and the Berg Balance Scale (BBS). The RCG carried out a six-week rocking-chair training program at home, involving ten sessions per week, twice a day for 15 minutes per session, and ten different movements. The CG continued their usual daily lives. After three months, the RCG responded to a mail questionnaire.
After the intervention, the RCG improved and the CG declined. The data showed significant interactions of group by time in the BBS score (p=0.001), maximal knee extension strength (p=0.006) and maximal walking speed (p=0.046), which indicates that the change between groups during the follow-up period was significant. Adherence to the training protocol was high (96%). After three months, the exercise program had become a regular home exercise habit for 88.5% of the subjects.
Results indicate that home-based elderly women benefit from this easily implemented rocking-chair exercise program. The subjects became motivated to participate in training and continued the exercises. This is a promising alternative exercise method for maintaining physical activity and leads to improvements in physical performance.
In 1988, the demented in an elderly rural population (n = 851) were traced and assessed with the GBS geriatric rating scale. The aim of the study was to investigate the level of impairments of demented persons primary cared for and to relate their impairments to form of housing; to compare the distribution of care between not-demented and demented in an elderly population, and to establish the primary caregiver/patient ratio. The majority of the demented (44/50) were cared for in the studied primary health care area, despite the scarcity of staff. All received formal care. They consumed more formal care than the not-demented in the population. In relation to amount of elderly persons helped, the home-help personnel ratio was 0.30, in district care the ratio was 0.02, whereas the ratio of general practitioners was 0.002, estimated from the number of contacts and staff.
The aims of this article were 1) to describe changes in functional ability from ages 75 to 80 among men and women in three Nordic localities, and 2) to analyze whether these changes are determined by changes in household composition from ages 70 to 75. The present analyses include the persons who participated in the NORA follow-up study of 75-80 year-old men and women in Jyväskylä, Finland (N=243), Göteborg, Sweden (N=226), and Glostrup, Denmark (N=274). Functional ability was measured by tiredness and need for help in Physical and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (PADL and IADL). Changes in functional ability are described as 1) sustained good, 2) decreased, 3) improved, and 4) sustained poor, and changes in household composition as 1) sustained living alone, 2) from living with others to living alone, and 3) sustained living with others. Number of chronic diseases and home help were included as covariates in the multivariate analyses. A large proportion of men and women had sustained good functional ability from age 75 to 80, but we observed both improvement and deterioration over time. For example, with regard to need for help in PADL: 64/59% of the mer/women had sustained good function, 19/21% deteriorated, 3/6% improved, and 14/14% had sustained poor function. Among the women in need of help at age 75, those who lived alone/became alone had a higher risk of sustained need for help from age 75 to 80 compared to women who lived with others [adjusted OR=4.0 (1.3-12.2/4.4 (0.7-26.9)]. This was not seen among the poor-functioning men. It is concluded that poor-functioning, single-living women are at higher risk of not regaining functional ability compared to cohabiting women.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: In order to investigate the relation between personal functional capacity and the physical housing environment during the aging process, the aim of this study was to give a long-term description of person-environmental fit (P-E fit) problems in terms of housing accessibility and ADL dependence among older adults, and to study their relationships at three points in time. METHODS: A 10- year longitudinal design was used: baseline (1994), follow- up 1 (2000) and follow-up 2 (2004). Using the Swedish national population register, a baseline sample of persons aged 75-84 years was identified. Of the 133 participants at baseline, the 31 participants still available at follow-up 2 were included in this study. Data on housing accessibility, functional limitations and dependence in ADL were collected by means of interviews and observations at home visits. RESULTS: P-E fit problems increased significantly between baseline and follow-up 1 and between follow-ups 1 and 2. No significant changes in overall ADL dependence were recorded. The total number of functional limitations, dependence on walking aids and P-E fit were significantly correlated to ADL dependence, at both follow-up 1 and follow-up 2, but not at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: Results confirm that functional decline is a major driver toward increased ADL dependence during the aging process, whereas environmental barriers per se are not related to such disability. Instead, P-E fit is significantly related to ADL dependence, and the relationship grows stronger with advancing age.
BACKGROUND/AIM: The objective was to examine cohort changes in cognitive function in 2 cohorts of centenarians born 10 years apart. METHODS: The Longitudinal Study of Danish Centenarians comprises all Danes reaching the age of 100 in the period April 1, 1995 through May 31, 1996. A total of 207 out of 276 persons participated (75%). The Danish 1905 Cohort Survey includes all individuals born in 1905. In total, 225 out of 364 persons who reached the age of 100 in the cohort participated in the most recent 2005 follow-up (62%). In both cohorts, cognitive function was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in cognitive score between the two centenarian birth cohorts. However, modest tendencies were seen towards better cognitive functioning for the centenarians in the 1905 cohort living at home compared to the home-dwelling ones in the 1895 cohort and worse cognitive performance for the centenarians in the 1905 group living in nursing homes compared to the nursing home dwellers in the 1895 cohort. CONCLUSION: The increasing number of centenarians may not entail larger proportions of cognitively impaired individuals in this extreme age group.
The objective of this study was to compare environmental barriers, housing accessibility, and usability before and after relocation of very old, single-living people in the community. It also examined whether accessibility improved after relocation compared with a simulated scenario in which participants would have remained in their former dwellings.
Data from the Swedish part of the longitudinal Enabling Autonomy, Participation, and Well-Being in Old Age: The Home Environment as a Determinant for Healthy Ageing database were analyzed with a before-and-after design (N = 29). Mean time from before to after data collection was 2.6 yr.
The number of environmental barriers was significantly reduced after relocation, especially barriers at entrances and in bathrooms. In addition, usability was stable and accessibility improved compared with the simulated scenario of remaining in the former dwelling.
Community-based moves to new dwellings may lead to fewer environmental barriers and stable levels of usability and accessibility. This relocation is a positive outcome, considering the expected functional decline in old age.