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Medicosocial profile of rural elderly and its covariates in Northern India A community-based study

Neelam Kumar, Gaurav Kamboj, Nilika, Meenakshi Kalhan, Manju Pilania.

Background: India has 8.6% of its population more than 60 years with old dependency ratio of 142. Providing health services to this ever-increasing segment of society is an unenviable task.

Objective: To analyze the medicosocial profile of elderly population and its sociodemographic covariates.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study on 280 subjects was conducted in a rural area of 5 villages. Every fifth elderly person was selected from all the villages after taking their consent. A predesigned, pretested, semistructured schedule was used for the purpose.

Result: About half (47.1%) of the subjects presented 1 episodes of an acute disease in the last 1 month. Maximum subjects gave history of fever (23.2%), followed by diarrhea (14.6%), backache (13.2%), and upper respiratory tract infection (12.5%). About 83.9% of geriatric population presented 1 chronic diseases (self-reported). Maximum subjects reported eye problems (53.2%) closely followed by locomotor problems (47.9%), oro-dental problems (38.6%), and respiratory problems (27.9%). The sociodemographic covariates of acute disease found to be statistically significant were increasing age, decreasing education level, illiteracy, >10 members in the family, involvement in outdoor activities, and having no decision-making power in the family whereas of chronic diseases were decreasing education levels, illiteracy, and no involvement in outdoor activities.

Conclusion: This study has identified an increasing need of nationwide efforts for facilitating the access to medical care of the elderly people in India.

Key words: Morbidity profile, elderly, sociodemographic covariates, acute disease, chronic disease

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