Perceived Social Isolation, Self-Care Behaviors and Health Status among Community Dwelling Older Adults Living Alone

Lithong Phatharapreeyakul, Phachongchit Kraithaworn, Noppawan Piaseu

Abstract


OBJECTIVE: To study and analyze the links among basic conditioning factors, perceived social isolation, self-care behaviors and health status of community dwelling older adults living alone.

MATERIAL AND METHOD: This study was a descriptive correlational research. The samples were 212 community dwelling older adults living alone in Sa Kaeo Province, Thailand. The data were collected by structured interviews and were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation statistics and Chi-square test.

RESULTS: The perceived social isolation of the samples was at a moderate level (62.7%) while that of the self-care behaviors was at a fair level (55.2%). Also, both perceived physical status and mental health status were both at a high level (50.5% and 60.8%, respectively). The perceived social isolation had statistically signifi cant negative correlation with self-care behaviors (r = -0.518, p < 0.001) and the perceived physical health status (r = -0.249, p < 0.001) and the perceived mental health (r = -0.364, p < 0.001). The basic factors which were statistically signifi cant correlated with the perceived social isolation was education (χ2= 6.194, p = 0.045) and income (χ2 = 17.489, p < 0.001). Self-care behaviors were statistically signifi cant associated with age (r = -0.236, p < 0.001), gender (χ2 = 9.288, p = 0.01), education (χ2 = 10.255, p = 0.006) and income χ2 = 21.414, p < 0.001). The perceived physical health status was statistically signifi cant associated with age (r = -0.328, p < 0.001), income (χ2 = 14.584, p = 0.001) and health problems (χ2 = 9.726, p = 0.008). The perceived mental health status was statistically signifi cant associated with age (r = -0.238, p < 0.001) and income (χ2 = 23.309, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that there were links among basic conditioning factors, the perceived social isolation, self-care behaviors and health status of the community dwelling older adults living alone. Thus, in assessing the health status and promoting self-care behaviors that are appropriate for this group of older adults, these factors should be taken into account, especially the older adults who have a low income and are poorly educated.

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