At present a majority of older people remain in their ordinary homes. Research has generated knowledge about home and health dynamics and increased the awareness of the complexity of housing as related to ageing. As this knowledge is based mainly on research on very old, single-living people in ordinary housing there is a need to study other sub-groups of the ageing population. Thus, the aim of the present descriptive study was to compare a younger old cohort with a very old cohort living in ordinary housing in Sweden in order to shed new light on home and health dynamics in different sub-groups of the ageing population.
Cross-sectional study of two population-based cohorts: one aged 67-70 years (n = 371) and one aged 79-89 years (n = 397) drawn from existing Swedish databases. Structured interviews and observations were conducted to collect data about socio-demographics, aspects of home, and symptoms. Besides descriptive statistics we computed tests of differences using the Chi-squared test and Mann-Whitney U-test.
Accessibility was significantly lower in the very old cohort compared to the younger old cohort even though the former were objectively assessed to have fewer environmental barriers. Those in the very old cohort perceived aspects of their housing situation as worse and were more dependent on external influences managing their housing situation. Although a larger proportion of the very old cohort had more functional limitations 22% were independent in ADL. In the younger old cohort 17% were dependent in ADL.
Keeping in mind that there were cohort differences beyond that of age, despite fewer environmental barriers in their dwellings the very old community-living cohort lived in housing with more accessibility problems compared to those of the younger old cohort, caused by their higher prevalence of functional limitations. Those in the very old cohort perceived themselves in a less favourable situation, but still as satisfied with housing as those in the younger old cohort. This kind of knowledge is indicative for prevention and intervention in health care and social services as well as for housing provision and societal planning. Further studies based on truly comparable cohorts are warranted.
Cites: Can J Occup Ther. 1999 Dec;66(5):250-6010641377
The understanding of the complex relationship between the home environment, well-being and daily functioning in the third age is currently weak. The aim of this paper is to present the methodological background of the Home and Health in the Third Age Study, and describe a sample of men and women in relation to their home and health situation.
The study sample included 371 people aged 67-70, living in ordinary housing in the south of Sweden. Structured interviews and observations were conducted to collect data about objective and perceived aspects of home and health.
The majority of the participants were in good health and had few functional limitations. Women had more functional limitations and reported more symptoms than men. Environmental barriers were found in every home investigated; the most were found in the kitchen and hygiene area. Environmental barriers were more common in multi-family than in one-family dwellings.
This study will increase our knowledge on home and health dynamics among people in the third age. The results have potential to contribute to societal planning related to housing provision, home care and social services for senior citizens.
To study and compare associations between life satisfaction and standard of living, health, and coping behaviour in older single-living women in two countries with different political, economical and cultural situations: Latvia and Sweden. Cross sectional data included 260 Latvian and 288 Swedish women, aged 75-84 and 80-89, from the ENABLE-AGE Survey Study. Life satisfaction was assessed by the question: All in all, how satisfied are you with your life? Standard of living was assessed by economic and housing conditions, and health by perceived and objective health and activities in daily living. Three factors, Fight, Helplessness, and Distraction, were obtained from the Coping Patterns Schedule. Correlations between Life satisfaction and standard of living, health, and coping were calculated. The variance in Life satisfaction explained by these variables was obtained in each sample by ordinal regression models. Life satisfaction was significantly lower in the Latvian sample than in the Swedish. Standard of living was lower and health poorer in the younger Latvian sample than in the Swedish, but more of the variance in Life satisfaction was explained in the Latvian sample by standard of living (18% vs 2%) and less by health (6% vs 15%). Coping factors explained 29% of the variation in Life satisfaction in the Latvian sample as opposed to 15% in the Swedish. For single-living older women low standard of living seems to be a more serious obstacle than poor health, making it difficult to obtain a reasonable life satisfaction.
The importance of the home environment increases with age. Perceived aspects of home influence life satisfaction, perceived health, independence in daily activities and well-being among very old people. However, research on health and perceived aspects of home among senior citizens in earlier phases of the aging process is lacking. Therefore, the main aim was to explore whether perceived aspects of home are related to number of and specific domains of symptoms in a cohort of people aged 67-70. Interview and observation data on aspects of home and health, collected with 371 individuals living in ordinary housing in urban as well as rural areas in southern Sweden, were used. Descriptive statistics, correlations, multiple linear and logistic regression models were employed. The results showed that the median number of symptoms was 6.0. Reporting fewer reported symptoms was associated with a higher meaning of home (p=0.003) and lower external housing related control beliefs (p=0.001) but not with usability in the home. High external control beliefs were significantly associated with symptoms from head (p=0.014), gastrointestinal (p=0.014) and tension symptoms (p=0.001). Low meaning of home was significantly associated with heart-lung symptoms (p=0.007), and low usability was associated with depressive symptoms (p=0.003). In conclusion, showing that perceived aspects of home are important for health in terms of physical and mental symptoms, this study contributes to the knowledge on the complex interplay of health and home in the third age.