Ong, B. N. & Jordan, K. (1997)
'Health Experiences of Elderly People in an Outer London Area'
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Received: 9/9/96 Accepted: 28/2/97 Published: 31/3/97
The SF-36 was able to pick up inequalities in health within the elderly population; with increasing age, even amongst the elderly, being an important factor in worsening SF-36 scores. Locality also appeared to influence the scoring although this was less conclusive.
The qualitative interviews were able to extract more information and greater understanding of the health of the elderly. Whilst the SF-36 could detect problems on a number of important dimensions such as functional status and well-being, the qualitative interviews addressed individual experiences of ill-health and other issues, such as environmental factors, which affected the health of an individual.
The mix of quantitative and qualitative methodologies gave a broader understanding of the health experience of elderly people to a greater extent than either could on its own. It is important for health policy to address the needs of populations whilst also accommodating individual needs.
Figure 1: Properties of pensioner households in the separate localities (from 1991 Census)
|Waltham Forest North||59||57||57||72||75||59||53||72|
|Waltham Forest Central||57||55||50||56||70||57||52||69|
|Waltham Forest South||49||53||35||60||65||56||46||68|
|Role - Physical||58.3|
GH = General Health; PF = Physical Functioning; RP = Role - Physical;
RE = Role - Emotional; SF = Social Funtioning; BP = Bodily Pain; VT = Vitality; MH = Mental Health
Figure 2: Standard scores for male and female age groups
|Role - Physical||Role -|
Note: respondent 5 was included specifically because of having undergone two hip replacements.
There are things I can't do, but there's a lot of things I make myself do.
Well, of course, my social contacts are at the church mostly, and here they have a bingo and all that.
(Qs: so you have a lot of friends through the church?)
Well, shall I tell you that I had 156 cards and letters last Christmas. Does that give you an idea?
I can't expect to have perfect health at 87 ... I'm wearing out, that's all there's to it.
I've got no future, what future have I got? I'm almost 83. I didn't think I'd live that long. My wife died when she was 67. I should have died instead of her.
You don't want what you used to want when you were young. So one day goes by like the others.
I don't go to the doctor. I used to go every two months. I tried to get tablets to cover me for two months, but the doctor has changed, everything changes. I can't understand them, not because I don't hear so well, but because they don't speak proper English, you know. ... one is from Greece ... The service is not what it should be, but I suppose that's how it is today.
[The hip replacement] has made a complete difference to my life. I mean, I couldn't walk, I couldn't drive ... I could walk round the flat, but I couldn't go anywhere unless I was taken.
I think mobility, I mean it's like so many things, you don't realize the importance of it until you haven't got it ... it does have a tremendous emotional effect, lack of mobility. You feel old for a start. There was virtually nothing that a forty year old could do that I couldn't do, if I were working or whatever I was doing. But if you can't get about, and having to use a stick has a great emotional effect, not only from your point of view, but anybody looking at you sees you differently...
...a little speaking, writing, meetings, community work, and all those things I am able to do because wherever I need to go, people pick me up.
Well I do try not to think about [the future]. One of the problems of the autumnal years, if you like, is that things can only get worse. You know that it's not getting better, only worse. I hope for five, ten years, but you know it's got to get worse...
He's very much of the opinion that, well, you're 65. Be thankful that you've got no blood pressure, no heart problems ... you know, live with it. Which, I suppose from the medical point of view is scientifically correct. But at the same time, one knows that there are things that can be done.
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