Health-related quality of life of elderly living in the rural community and homes for the elderly in a district of India. Application of the short form 36 (SF-36) health survey questionnaire.Z Gerontol Geriatr 2010; 43(4):259-63ZG
The present investigation aimed to assess the health-related QoL (HRQoL) of elderly people living in two settings: (i) rural community and (ii) homes for the elderly in a district of South India. The data are drawn from elderly (>60 years of age) sampled from both settings. The short form 36-item health survey (SF-36) was administered to all respondents. The average scores for several domains, including total physical health, total mental health and overall health (total SF-36 score) were around 50, which can be interpreted as a moderate level of health-related QoL. Residents living in a home for the elderly scored better in all domains except for role-physical and role-emotional. Though univariate analysis revealed some associations between characteristics of elderly SF-36 scores, the multiple regression analysis indicated that working status yields a significant but negative coefficient for total SF-36 score among community dwelling elderly. The elderly report that their lives are better when they are staying in homes for the elderly. Hence, despite the socio-economic conditions, provision of a better and conducive environment by setting up more charity-based homes for the elderly may be one of the options for relative betterment of the QoL of the elderly, particularly those who are socially and economically deprived. Finally, the study warrants the need of normative values of SF-36 for various population groups in India.