Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Social Environment is the Key to Quality of Life for Older People

29.07.2003


Healthy older people living with a partner feel they have the highest quality of life, whilst those in residential homes are likely to report the poorest, according to new research funded by the Economic & Social Research Council as part of its Growing Older Programme.

A three-year-long study of residents aged between 65 and 98 in the London Borough of Wandsworth was carried out by a team led by Professor Graham Beaumont and Dr Pamela Kenealy of the University of Surrey Roehampton and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. They found that next to having a partner, older people identified family and good health as important to their quality of life.

Belonging to a Church, being able to get about, membership of a lunch club and independence came next down the list, ahead of considerations such as companionship or security. Professor Beaumont said: “Over the whole range of factors directly affecting people’s perception of their quality of life, the social environment – including home, safety, finances, services, leisure, environment and transport – is the single most important. We found that those in residential homes gave the lowest ratings on all counts when compared with anyone living with a partner, family or friends.”



He added: “It is true that those in residential homes were generally older, less sharp mentally, and suffered more from health problems. However, health did not account for the difference in our results.”

The study involved 193 older people who did not have significant health problems or physical disability, and whose mental alertness and recall were normal for their age. The study says that physical disability was seen by them as a factor in a lower quality of life, being associated with lower mental ability. The more disabled were likely to be in sheltered or residential accommodation, and were more likely to be depressed or have lower self-esteem.

Perhaps surprisingly, people’s educational and financial status, though contributing to quality of life, had no direct relationship to the scores for quality of life given by those in the study. Almost 80 per cent saw themselves as different from those who were worse off, perhaps accounting for the generally high quality of life reported by those participating.

Those living with a partner, companion or family were more likely to be positive in their approach to life, while those living alone for more than 10 years were significantly less so.

People who had difficulties remembering their own past tended to feel more content with their quality of life, had a better perception of their health and were less likely to be depressed. Professor Beaumont said: “It seems reasonable to suppose that failing to remember the past may sometimes be beneficial, making adverse comparisons with quality of life in the past less severe.”

The most important factors determining the older people’s sense of quality of life, besides the social environment, were how healthy they felt (although all were actually in good health), freedom from depression, good mental faculties and personal optimism.

The study showed that depression leads to a lower sense of quality of life, rather than the other way round. Depression further influences quality of life by affecting mental alertness, and worries about health were the main factor affecting depression and social life.

Anna Hinds | alfa
Further information:
http://www.regard.ac.uk.
http://www.shef.ac.uk/uni/projects/gop/index.htm

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>