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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 345-350

Morbidity pattern and health-seeking behavior of elderly in urban slums: A cross-sectional study in Assam, India

Department of Community Medicine, Jorhat Medical College, Jorhat, Assam, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kabita Barua
Department of Community Medicine, Jorhat Medical College, Jorhat - 785 001, Assam
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.220030

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Background: Elderly population in India is increasing fast which indicates a growing share of population with more special needs for health and support. Understanding the morbidities and health-seeking behavior of elderly is essential for strengthening geriatric health-care services delivery. Objectives: The objective of this study was to study the morbidity profile of elderly in urban slum areas and assess their health-seeking behavior. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted in urban slums of Jorhat district of Assam, among 125 elderly selected by simple random sampling. Statistical Analysis Used: The statistical analysis was performed by Chi-square and proportions. Results: The most common morbidity found was arthritis (70.4%) followed by visual impairment (58%). Majority (83.7%) were seeking treatment for their health problems. Among those elderly who did not seek treatment, the most common reasons given were “lack of money” (81.2%) and “not feeling necessary to go to doctor as conditions were age related” (62.5%). Conclusions: More than two-third of slum-dwelling elderly in the present study were suffering from chronic morbidities; a few could not afford proper health care due to lack of money and self-medication practices were prevalent among some. This stresses the need to provide suitable health facilities and affordable health care to the elderly in slum areas to ensure their active aging. Living arrangement of the elderly was found to have significantly influenced their health-seeking behavior. Strategic implementation of policies focusing on the problems and beliefs of slum-dwelling elderly which prevent them from seeking healthcare is the need of the hour.

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