Factors Associated with Chronic Illness among the Elderly in a Rural Community in Malaysia
AbstractChronic illness is one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity among the elderly. To determine the prevalence and factors associated with chronic illness among the elderly in a rural community setting. A cross sectional study design was used. Stratified proportionate cluster sampling method was used to select respondents in Mukim Sepang, Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia. Out of 263 elderly residents (6.2% of the total population), 223 agreed to participate in the study giving a response rate of 84.8%. The prevalence of chronic illness among the elderly in Mukim Sepang was 60.1 %. Out of 223 respondents,134 were diagnosed as having chronic illness such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, ischaemic heart disease, bronchial asthma or gout. Chronic illness was found to be significantly associated with functional dependence among the elderly (χ 2 =6.863, df=1, p <0.05). The prevalence of chronic illness among the elderly in the rural community is very high. Problems facing this age-group should be addressed comprehensively in order to formulate appropriate programmes for the health care of the elderly. Asia Pac J Public Health 2004; 16(2): 109-114.