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Health status, health behaviors, and the ability to perform everyday activities in Poles aged ≥65 years staying in their home environment

Authors Wróblewska I, Zborowska I, Dąbek A, Susło R, Wróblewska Z, Drobnik J

Received 24 September 2017

Accepted for publication 7 December 2017

Published 1 March 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 355—363


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Izabela Wróblewska,1,2 Iwona Zborowska,1 Anna Dąbek,1 Robert Susło,1 Zuzanna Wróblewska,2 Jarosław Drobnik1

1Institute of Gerontology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Wrocław Medical University, Wrocław, Poland; 2Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology, Karkonosze College, Jelenia Góra, Poland

Background: The incidence of chronic diseases increases with age; about 73% of people who are aged ≥60 years suffer from at least 1 chronic disease, and among those older than 70 years, chronic diseases afflict more than >84% of the population. According to epidemiological data, at least 4 chronic disease types coexist in senior citizens, causing their disability. These are mainly cardiovascular diseases; motor system diseases; ophthalmological, auditory, neurological, and mental diseases; and mental impairment. They worsen or limit self-dependence in everyday activities. The process begins with complex activities and advances with age. At first, functional performance deficits are discreet; then, they may gradually lead to complete dependence on other people or institutions.
Objective: This study aimed to assess the relationship between diseases and health behaviors, as well as the everyday functioning of people aged ≥65 years staying in their home environment.
Methods: The research involved 504 elderly people. The inclusion criteria were age (≥65 years) and staying in one’s own home environment. The direct interview technique was applied, as well as use of proprietary interview questionnaire and standardized tools used in geriatrics: Barthel scale, measuring performance in everyday activities, and the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living scale, assessing complex everyday activities.
Results: The most frequent disease among the responders was arterial hypertension (77.58%), followed by degenerative joint disease (62.10%), and circulatory failure (43.23%). Lower functional performance was associated with circulatory failure, cerebral stroke, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, degenerative joint disease, and bronchial asthma. Performance worsening significantly influenced the frequency of hospitalizations, with a mean score of 4.31 per person. Medical rehabilitation was practiced by 18.65% of the responders.
Conclusion: Circulatory failure, cerebral stroke, atherosclerosis, bronchial asthma, diabetes, degenerative joint disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease negatively affect functional performance in elderly people. Hospitalization rates increase with lowering independence in everyday functioning. Future research is needed with regard to the relationship between the practiced rehabilitation and independence in everyday functioning of the elderly.

Keywords: the elderly, functional performance, health behaviors

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