Caring for the senior citizens

New research on Health and well-being of older persons in Kenya has unveiled a standard research tool for routine generation of evidence on the health and wellbeing of older persons in Kenya and provided case baseline data on health status and determinants for older people. The tool for measuring health and wellbeing among older population in Kenya was validated and piloted in Kiambu County, Kenya. The project is a partnership between the University of Southampton-UK through the Centre for Research on Ageing and Kenyatta University alongside the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection-State Department of Social Protection, Ministry of Health, National Council for Population and Development, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and Help Age International and Regional office.

Health programming for older people has consistently been undermined by a lack of data and vital statistics pertaining to their health status. Consequently, this population is excluded from most general population surveys including demographic health surveys (WHO, 2015). Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to 'ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages'(UN, 2016) and achievement of successful and healthy ageing (WHO, 2015). The developed and validated tool for assessment of health and wellbeing of older people (HWOPs) in Kenya provides a broad framework for examining disease and disability burden among older people in Kenya; assessing status and determinants of health and wellbeing among older persons while identifying strategies that can enhance the health, psycho-social and general wellbeing of older persons. The study enriches the prospects of health programming and provision for older persons who are especially burdened by non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The project augments current efforts ‘Towards Evidence Revolution on Ageing in Kenya’ and was funded by the Newton Fund -Institutional Links Grant Call of April 2017.

The tool covers at least 9 life domains that are antecedents and germane to the health and wellbeing of older persons.

Person’s background

Marital status & history

Childbearing & intergenerational relationships

Work status & Occupational history

Individual health state

Chronic conditions

Lifestyle & health behavior

Healthcare utilization

Informal care & support/community engagement

The study recommends formulation of a health and ageing policy in Kenya to address unique health realities and needs of older persons; targeting of older persons in health prevention and promotive campaigns within the County while recognizing role of sex and age; an aggressive effort towards prevention of hypertension, diabetes, asthma, depression and dementia which appear to grossly limit life expectancy at 60 and largely affecting women; advocacy change to promote healthy ageing through lifestyle change combined with focused health programming and funding of strategies to promote socio-economic welfare for older persons.

 

Project coordinated by

Dr. Lucy Maina

Department of Sociology

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