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Glob Health Action. 2010 Sep 27;3. doi: 10.3402/gha.v3i0.2151.

Self-reported health and functional limitations among older people in the Kassena-Nankana District, Ghana.

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1
Navrongo Health and Demographic Surveillance System, Navrongo, Ghana.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Ghana is experiencing significant increases in its ageing population, yet research on the health and quality of life of older people is limited. Lack of data on the health and well-being of older people in the country makes it difficult to monitor trends in the health status of adults and the impact of social policies on their health and welfare. Research on ageing is urgently required to provide essential data for policy formulation and programme implementation.

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the health status and identify factors associated with self-rated health (SRH) among older adults in a rural community in northern Ghana.

METHODS:

The data come from a survey on Adult Health and Ageing in the Kassena-Nankana District involving 4,584 people aged 50 and over. Survey participants answered questions pertaining to their health status, including self-rated overall health, perceptions of well-being and quality of life, and self-reported assessment of functioning on a range of different health domains. Socio-demographic information such as age, sex, marital status and education were obtained from a demographic surveillance database.

RESULTS:

The majority of older people rated their health status as good, with the oldest old reporting poorer health. Multivariate regression analysis showed that functional ability and sex are significant factors in SRH status. Adults with higher levels of functional limitations were much more likely to rate their health as being poorer compared with those having lower disabilities. Household wealth was significantly associated with SRH, with wealthier adults more likely to rate their health as good.

CONCLUSION:

The depreciation in health and daily functioning with increasing age is likely to increase people's demand for health care and other services as they grow older. There is a need for regular monitoring of the health status of older people to provide public health agencies with the data they need to assess, protect and promote the health and well-being of older people.

KEYWORDS:

Ghana; INDEPTH WHO-SAGE; Kassena-Nankana District; adult health; functional limitations; older people; self-reported health status

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