Social Support and Health Status among Community Dwelling Older People Living Alone with Chronic Diseases
Keywords:older people living alone with chronic disease, social support, health status
Objective: 1) To describe personal factors, social support, and health status, and 2) To examine relationships among personal factors and social support with health status among community dwelling older people living alone with chronic disease.
Design: Descriptive Correlational Research.
Procedure: The participants were 262 older people living alone with chronic disease in a province of northeastern region were recruited. Data were collected using demographic characteristics and a set of instruments designed to assess happiness in life, social support, perceived health status, depressive symptom, and death acceptance. Descriptive statistics, Biserial correlation, and Spearman’s Rank Correlation were used to analyze the data.
Results: The mean age of the sample was 71.20 ± 7.53 years. They had social support at a moderate level (66.8 %), perceived physical health at a fair level (47.7%), depression at a beginning level (80.5 %), happiness at a high level (52.7 %), and death acceptance at a mild level (57.6 %). Correlation analysis revealed that income was correlated with the perceived physical health (r= .181, p= .003) and happiness (r= .136,p= .028). Social support was correlated with perceived physical health (r= .148, p= .016) and happiness (r= .489,p< .001).
Recommendations: The four dimensions of health should be enhanced among older people living alone with chronic disease, particularly those with low income and lack of social support. Their access to healthcare and social services should be promoted and provided and vocational activities should be organized for them to earn income to sustain their health and self-esteem. Community activities should be promoted consistently integrated in their beliefs and culture to preserve their faith, beliefs, and mental attachment.
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