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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Activity status of elderly in a rural area

Author(s): Goel PK, Garg SK, Singh JV, Bhatnagar M, Chopra H, Bajpai SK

Vol. 32, No. 2 (2007-04 - 2007-06)

LETTER TO EDITOR

Year : 2007 | Volume : 32 | Issue : 2 | Page : 149

Activity status of elderly in a rural area

Goel PK, Garg SK, Singh JV, Bhatnagar M, Chopra H, Bajpai SK
Department of SPM, LLRM Medical College, Meerut, UP, India
Date of Submission 21-May-2006

Correspondence Address:
Goel P K
Department of SPM, LLRM Medical College, Meerut, UP
India

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
How to cite this article:
Goel PK, Garg SK, Singh JV, Bhatnagar M, Chopra H, Bajpai SK. Activity status of elderly in a rural area. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:149
How to cite this URL:
Goel PK, Garg SK, Singh JV, Bhatnagar M, Chopra H, Bajpai SK. Activity status of elderly in a rural area. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2007 [cited 2007 Nov 30];32:149. Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2007/32/2/149/35661

Ageing is a complex, multifactorial, and inevitable process which begins before birth, the rate being different in the various stages of life. [1] The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently added one more dimension to ageing, and that is 'active ageing.'[2]

Researchers have enumerated a few problems that are unique to old age, such as the need to develop new activities to occupy increased leisure time, to derive enjoyment from activities suited to the elderly, and the willingness to substitute such activities for those formerly enjoyed but now found to be too strenuous.

The present study is an effort to examine these problems and to provide information regarding the activity status of the elderly in a rural area.

The study was carried out in the 24 subcentre villages under the block-level Primary Health Centre, Daurala, which is the rural field-training centre of the Department of Community Medicine, L.L.R.M. Medical College, Meerut. A minimum sample size of 355 individuals was necessary, calculated on the basis of the morbidity prevalence rate of 52% (NSSO, 1998)[3] with a 95% confidence interval and a relative precision of 10%. With house-to-house visits, starting from a randomly selected house at each village, 15 elderly people aged 60 years and above from each of the 24 subcentre villages were selected for inclusion in the study. However, 6 persons were dropped from the study due to their unwillingness to participate. A predesigned and pretested schedule was used for the study. Physical activity was graded as light, moderate, heavy, and very heavy.[4]

In all, 71.6% of the elderly engaged in light physical activities; moderate, heavy, and very heavy work was being done by 17.1%, 10.7%, and 0.6%, respectively. This may be because of the large proportion of housewives (49.7%) and retired persons (13.2%) in the study population.

The majority (70.1%) of the elderly reported being engaged in activities outside their homes (males 71.9%, females 68.5%); these activities included attending social functions (62.7%), informal meetings with other elderly people (48.6%), attending religious functions (44.9%), household and family-related jobs (8.7%), and park activities (1.1%), ( P >0.5). The NSSO 42 nd round [5] has, likewise, reported social engagements as being the most common activity occupying the elderly outside of their homes (male 80.4% and female 65.4%).

Most of the elderly (69.5%) reported that they enjoyed their leisure-time activities at home, idling being the commonest (59.6%) activity [Table - 1]. Leisure-time activity at home was significantly more in females than in males, being 92.0% and 44.3%, respectively ( P <0.001); this was in spite of the fact that elderly females were most prone to spend their leisure time in idleness (86.6%). Idling during leisure time may be one of the reasons for the reduction in sleeping hours, which was reported as being less than 6 h in 52.3%, 6-8 h in 44.9%, and more than 8 h in 2.8% of the respondents.

Most of the participants reported that they engaged in light physical activities, with significant time wasted in idling. Community-based rehabilitation programs should be developed to increase activity among the elderly. In addition, home-based light occupations, e.g., poultry rearing, mat making, and agarbathi making should be promoted to help the elderly, especially elderly females, in becoming not only physically active but also financially independent, so that they can 'age with a wage.'

References

1. WHO Ageing: Exploding the myths. Indian Med Assoc 1999;97:138-40.
2. Aggarwal A, Sharma OP. The International year of the older persons. Indian Med Assoc 1999;97:117-8.
3. NSSO. The Aged in India: A socio economic profile NSS 52 nd Round (July 1995-June 1996), Government of India 1998.
4. WHO, Habitual physical activity and health, WHO Regional Publication European Series No. 6, 1978, Table 28: 151.
5. NSSO. Socioeconomic Profile of Aged persons. NSS 42 nd round (July 1986-1987). Sarvekshana XV (2), Issue No. 49, Oct. - Dec. 1991.

Tables

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Table 1: Distribution of leisure time activities of the elderly (multiple response)

Table 1: Distribution of leisure time activities of the elderly (multiple response)

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