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Malays J Med Sci. 2004 Jan;11(1):52-9.

Physical and mental health problems of the elderly in a rural community of sepang, selangor.

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Unit of Family Medicine, Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.


The prevalence of aging population is increasing not only in developed countries, but also in developing countries like Malaysia. The aim of this study was: (1) to determine the prevalence of physical and mental health problems, and (2) to determine the association of these health problems with socio demographic factors among the elderly in a rural community in Sepang, Selangor. A cross sectional study design was used. Five out of nine villages were selected via random sampling. The elderly in the selected villages were interviewed using a pre-tested structured questionnaire which included the GDS-30, ECAQ and Barthel Index. Out of 263 elderly residents (6.2% of the total population), 223 agreed to participate in the study giving a response rate of 84.8%. The mean age of the respondents was 69.7 + 6.8 years with a median of 68 years. The prevalence of physical health problems such as chronic illness and functional dependence were 60.1% and 15.7%, respectively. While the prevalence of mental health problems such as depression and cognitive impairment were 7.6% and 22.4%, respectively. Among the health problems studied, depression was found to be significantly associated with unemployment (p<0.05), where as cognitive impairment was significantly associated with age, gender, ethnicity, marital status and level of education (p<0.05).


Elderly; Mental-health-problems; Physical-health-problems; Rural-community

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