Background: Planning of healthcare services at primary care level needs to account for common prevailing problems and disabilities among the elderly in the community to improve their quality of life.
Objective: To estimate the prevalence of self-reported morbidities and functional disabilities among the elderly and to find out predictors and barriers to health-seekers with functional disabilities.
Methods: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted in two areas from the urban field practice area of the tertiary care institute in Puducherry during January to February, 2014. Elderly persons aged 60 years or more were eligible for the study. During the house-to-house survey, with pretested interview schedule information on sociodemographic characteristics, self-reported morbidities, functional disabilities (impairment of vision, hearing, chewing and walking), health-seeking and use of supportive aids for functional disabilities were collected. Prevalence of each morbidity and disability was presented as percentages. Predictors of seeking treatment for disabilities were identified by multi-variate logistic regression analysis.
Result: Of the total 402 elderly, 384 (95.5%) had reported at least one morbidity hypertension (58.2%), musculoskeletal disorder (54.7%) and diabetes (37.1%) are the most frequently re-ported illnesses among the elderly. Disabilities related to vision (49.5%) and walking (92.7%) were commonly reported functional disabilities. Use of supportive aids was higher for visual impairment (41.7%) and for other disabilities, it was less (3%). The elderly aged more than 65 years old, literate and
living with their spouse had significantly sought treatment for their visual impairment.