Physical Health of Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Live Longer and Stay Healthier?
MetadataShow full item record
(41st Biennial Convention) Background: Physical health of older adults is the major concern in health promotion of this age group. Having better comprehension about older adults' physical health can better design activities to maintain and promote their health. Aims: This study aimed to: 1) investigate the physical health of community-dwelling older adults; and 2) compare the differences of physical health among different age groups and gender. Design: Survey research. Methods: Using stratified random sampling, 384 community-dwelling older adults, equally represented from 11 districts in Kaohsiung city, southern Taiwan, were recruited. Based on the Health Model of Older Adults, three constructs with 28 indicators were measured through face-to-face structured interviews: 1) activities of daily living (6 indicators), 2) physical status (14 indicators), and 3) functional fitness (8 indicators). Descriptive and inferential statistics (ANOVA and independent t-test) were applied to analyze the data. Results: With an average age of 79.24 + 8.50 years, participants were independent in activities of daily living (M = 96.45, SD = 11.29). Most physical health indicators were within normal range, except problems of central obesity (male: 42.90%; female: 80.30%), abnormal blood pressure (systolic: 47.10%; diastolic: 7%), and deteriorated lung capacity (male: 59.30%; female: 70.70%). Young-old older adults had better conditions in all physical health indicators than the middle-old and old-old older adults (all p < .05). Male older adults had better body composition, cardio-pulmonary fitness, hand-grip strength, and lower-limb muscle endurance than female older adults; however, less body flexibility than the female older adults (all p < .05). Conclusions: Encouraging community-dwelling older adults to do volunteer works and keep them active would be essential to delay or prevent the deteriorations of nature aging. With an understanding of the physical health of older adults, exercise programs could be specifically designed to reflect those weak points and promote their physical health.