Social environment of older people and its association with physical performance during the first year in senior housing

Theme 5. Other
Session Name 5.7 Ageing Arctic: Realizing the potential of older people
Datetime Sep 07, 2018 01:30 PM - 01:45 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter
Author(s) Sinikka Lotvonen (Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, Medical Research Center of Oulu, University of Oulu, Finland), Helvi Kyngäs (Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, Medical Research Center of Oulu, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Finland), Pentti Koistinen (Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, PL5000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland), Risto Bloigu (Medical Informatics and Statistics Research Group Oulu, Finland), Satu Elo (Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, Medical Research Center of Oulu, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Finland)
Abstract text

Introduction: Growing numbers of older people relocate into senior housing when their physical performance declines. The relocation and change in social environment are known to affect their well-being, providing both challenges and opportunities, but more information on the relations between social and physical parameters is required. Senior houses are apartments for elderly residents who can live independently with reduced functional capacity, but may be benefit from services, senior-friendly environment and increased social opportunities, that senior houses offers. Methods: We elicited perceptions of the social environment of 81 older people (aged 59-93 years, living in northern Finland) and changes in it 3 and 12 months after relocation to senior housing. Their physical performance was also measured and associations between these two were analysed. Results: Participants reported that they had freedom to do whatever they liked and generally had enough contact with close people (which have recognized importance for older people’s wellbeing), but changes in their physical condition limited their social activity. Furthermore, their usual walking speed, dominant hand’s grip strength and IADL-performance significantly decreased. The pleasantness of the residential community, peer support, constraints on social activity imposed by changes in physical condition, meaningful activity at home and meeting close people all affected these physical performance parameters.  Conclusion:  In addition to assessing physical performance and encouraging regular exercise, the complex interactions between social factors, physical performance and wellbeing should be considered when addressing individuals’ needs. Family members, close people and staff all play important roles in helping adaptation to the new environment.

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