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Severe Disability Among Elderly Community Dwellers in Rural Thailand: Prevalence and Associated Factors

Abstract

The Thai population structure is changing, with the growing number of elderly people leading to a higher dependency ratio. Particularly, the dependency resulted from aging related disability becomes a critical problem in rural Thailand. This study was designed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with severe disability among community dwelling elderly people in rural Thailand. The findings imply that the prevalence of severe disability in the elderly was 11.9 % (95 % CI, 9.23–15.07). The factors associated with severe disability were, according to strength of association, co-morbidity (AOR 3.63; 95 % CI 1.78–7.41), fall (AOR 3.21; 95 % CI. 1.53–6.73), age (over 75 years) (AOR 2.78; 95 % CI 1.33–5.80), and dementia (AOR 2.29; 95 % CI 1.01–5.20), while participation in social activities was a protective factor for severe disability (AOR 0.13; 95 % CI 0.06–0.27). Therefore, to improve care for the community dwelling elderly people in Thailand, the government should focus on health promotion, enhancing the elderly people’s social participation in the society activities for the risk group, and providing long-term care for the elderly with severe disability.

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Acknowledgments

The research was mainly supported by National Research Council of Thailand (.2554-.05). Additional support was provided by Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University (I53224) and Research Group on Well being and Sustainable Development (WeSD), Khon Kaen University (Project 2553). The funders had no role in the design of the study, the collection, analysis, interpretation of the data, and preparation of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Siranee Sihapark.

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Sihapark, S., Kuhirunyaratn, P. & Chen, H. Severe Disability Among Elderly Community Dwellers in Rural Thailand: Prevalence and Associated Factors. Ageing Int 39, 210–220 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12126-013-9190-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12126-013-9190-7

Keywords

  • Severe disability
  • Elderly
  • Rural