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Medical Sociology: Modelling Well-being for Elderly People in Jamaica

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Objective: Advances in nutrition, sanitation, water supply, technology and drugs have managed to add years to life. However, with the continuing increase in the non-communicable diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that disabilities have eroded nine years from the healthy quality of life of Jamaicans. The current study aims to provide factors that will explain how to attain ‘good’ health.
Method: The research design for this study is an explanatory one. This research utilizes cross-sectional data taken from the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) 2002 in order to identify and explain some of the determinants of well-being among the Jamaican elderly. Information collected used selfadministered questionnaire. Multivariate regression was used to establish the well-being model. The surveyed population was 3009 respondents ages 60 years and older, with 52.7% females (n = 1423) and 47.3% males (n = 1423). The average age of the surveyed population was 71 years 10 months ± 8 years six months.
Result: Of the 14 predisposed variables that were used to test the general hypothesis, 11 were found to be statistically significant. From the selected variables of this study, the six most important factors that impact on the well-being of the Jamaican elderly in descending order are as follows: social support (β = 0.486), average occupancy per room (β = -0.428), area of residence – living in Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) with reference to rural areas (β = 0.179) or dwelling in other towns with reference to rural area (β = 0.157), education (β = 0.155) followed by the physical environment (β = -0.138) and age of respondents (β = -0.129).
Conclusion: The predisposed variables used in this study explain 45.9% of the variance in quality of life. The variable that has the most influential impact on well-being is social support. The general wellbeing of the Jamaican elderly is low (mean of 3.9/14 ± 2.3). The model provides a basis upon which we can address patient care and ‘good’ health.
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e-Published: 25 Jul, 2013
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