Health Needs Of Aging Population And Strategies To Address Needs

3277 words - 14 pages

Ageing population is a global phenomenon in this 21st century and has changed the demographic profile of many countries. Malaysia is also keeping pace with other countries in achieving the ageing population status whereby, the country also gradually experiencing on this. The elderly population of Malaysia is projected to increase from 5% in the year 2010 to 11.4% in 2040 (Department of statistic Malaysia, 2010). This is due to the improvements in health, low mortality, and fertility rates combined with increasing life expectancy over the latter half of the twentieth century (Phillips & Chan, 2002). With that, interest in well being in the later life and how to achieve it has intensified. Health as defined by World Health Organization is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 1985). Birren (1999) supports that in human ageing, the sequences of biological, behavioural and social environmental factors influence both life span and well being. Thus, quality of life is widely accepted as an indicator of successful ageing and it is monitored as a means of measuring the effectiveness of social policies, welfare programme and health care.
Ageing is distinguished from disease by the fact that it is universal. Multiple pathologies resulting in multiple symptoms, often non-specific, are a common phenomenon in the elderly (Arokiasamy, 1996). Few elderly persons escape the accumulation of chronic pathologies and long term non fatal diseases, which are degenerative in nature, as they grow older. According to Mental Health Quality of Life (MHQoL), there are 49.6% of older Malaysian having at least one to two chronic condition and 22.3% of the older population having more than 3 chronic illnesses. The most prevalence chronic illnesses are arthritis which accounts for 41.4% followed by hypertension, 30.5%; diabetes, 14.4%; heart disease, 8.9% and respiratory problem, 8.6%.
The burden of chronic diseases encompasses a broad spectrum of negative health consequences beside death. People living with one or more chronic diseases often experience diminished quality of life, generally reflected by a long period of decline and disability associated with their disease. Chronic illness can affect a person’s ability to perform important and essential activities, both inside and outside the home. Initially, they may have trouble with the instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), such as managing money, shopping, preparing meals, and taking medications as prescribed. As functional ability- physical, mental or both- further declines, people may lose the ability to perform more basic activities, called activities of daily living (ADLs), such as taking care of personal hygiene, feeding themselves, getting dressed and toileting.
Among all, incontinence as a problem among elderly is increasingly being recognised. In this respect, study done by Sherina, Lekhraj, and Mustaqim (2004) supports that...

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