Psychological and Socioeconomic Health of Community-Dwelling Seniors in Taiwan

Monday, 30 July 2012

Kuei-Min Chen, PhD, RN1
Mei-Hui Lin, RN, MS2
Yueh-Chin Wang, MS2
Chun-Huw Li, RN, MS3
Hsin-Ting Haung, BS1
(1)College of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
(2)Department of Nursing, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
(3)Department of Nursing, Yuhing Junior College of Health Care and Management, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to know the theoretical-based psychological and socioeconomic health indicators that are essential to the seniors.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to know the psychological and socioeconomic health of Taiwanese community-dwelling seniors, and the demographic differences among this age group.

Purpose: Different dimensions of health are intertwined; mind has the power to affect the condition of one’s physical health. This study aimed to investigate the psychological and socioeconomic health of community-dwelling seniors in Taiwan and determine their health differences among different age groups, genders, marital status, and exercise habits.

Methods: Using a stratified random sampling, 384 Taiwanese community-dwelling seniors were recruited for this survey research. Based on the Health Model of Older Adults, seven constructs with 49 indicators were measured: 1) psychological health: sleep quality, emotional health, cognitive functioning, and health promotion behaviors; 2) socioeconomic health: social engagement, social support, and financial status.

Results: Most participants were in a good state of psychological and socioeconomic health, except 38.02% of them suffered from sleep disruptions, and the majority of them were not involved in any social group (88.80%), nor engaged in any volunteer work (92.70%). Young-old seniors had better psychological and socioeconomic health than middle-old and old-old seniors (all p < .05). Male seniors had better psychological health; however, they had less social engagement and social support than female seniors (all p < .05). Married seniors and exercisers performed better in most of the psychological and socioeconomic health indicators than single or widowed seniors and non-exercisers, respectively (all p < .05).

Conclusion: It is essential to encourage Taiwanese community-dwelling seniors to participate in volunteer work to keep active. More attention should be given to those seniors who are single or widowed to prevent psychological and socioeconomic health problems. Health care providers need to be more sensitive about the culturally diverse health status of the seniors.