The number of older people living alone is increasing due to dramatic population ageing and changes in living arrangements. Little is known about older people living alone in Mainland China and their quality of life (QoL) where collectivism and filial responsibility are emphasised.
This study aimed to explore the health status, life circumstances and QoL of older people living alone in Chongming, Shanghai.
A cross-sectional survey of a stratified random cluster sample of 521 community-dwelling older people aged 60 years and above and living alone was conducted in Chongming, Shanghai. The structured questionnaire included validated measures to assess the health status, loneliness, social support, physical activity, health services utilisation and satisfaction, housing and QoL.
Over two fifths of the participants rated their health as good despite 44.5% reporting chronic diseases and 47.6% reporting being depressed. Most participants reported a high level of functional ability and were satisfied with their health services and overall dwelling conditions. However, over four fifths of the participants reported moderate/moderately high levels of loneliness. The
social support mean score was 30.5, lower than the Chinese population norm. The participants’ health status, loneliness, social support, physical activity, health
services satisfaction and satisfaction with overall dwelling conditions varied across the sample. Over two fifths of the participants perceived their QoL as good. Satisfaction with overall dwelling conditions, self-rated health, functional ability, depression, economic level, social support, loneliness, occupation and satisfaction with health services were predictors of QoL accounting for 68.8% of the variance. Additionally, depression and occupation had an interaction effect upon QoL.
Older people living alone in Chongming, Shanghai are a disadvantaged heterogeneous group who need special attention. The proposed QoL model provides the basis for further enquiry regarding the needs of different sub-groups and future policy interventions.
|Date of Award
|Alison While (Supervisor) & Allan Hicks (Supervisor)