Some of the myths, misconception and negative stereotypes about the older people stem from our culture’s value and beliefs. Many people perceive older adults as senile, sick and incapable of making worthwhile contributions to society (Travis, 2002). The world’s elderly population is fast increasing, but there is scant information of their health needs in developing countries.
The ages 60 and above is the fastest growing age group. Filipino culture, values and traditions dictate that the elderly people must be respected and cared for.In line with this, the updated Philippine Development Plan promotes the family s major role in providing care in the home. It stresses the development of family-oriented support systems to help urb the increase in the number of abandoned and neglected elderly. In addition, it considers the communitys role in providing additional support. It regards voluntary organizations, private firms, or charities, as important resources in filling gaps wherein either the family or the government’s provisions of services are insufficient.At present the countrys major programs are The Department Programs for the Elderly, Institutionalized Homes for the Aged and Retirement and other Benefits (National Economic and Development Authority, 1992). The elderly in the Philippines, those aged 60 and above account for a mall portion of the population.
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Demographic trends, however, reveal an alarming increase in the elderly population. Based on the census, they represented 5. 28 % and 5. 26 % Of the total population in 1 980 and 1990, respectively.By the year 2030, the number is expected to double the 1990 data and reach more than 6.
4 million (Untalasco, 1998). In Region l, the 1990 census reveals that the elderly composed 7 % of the total population compared to the national level of only 5 The Ilocos Region tops the list of regions with the biggest elderly population (Untalasco. 1998). There is, therefore, a need to pay attention to this phenomenon. The researchers took interest in conducting this study to determine the actual status of the elderly in selected barangays of the municipality of San Vicente.
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of age and sociodemographic characteristics to health of older persons. Four dimensions of health were measured using a structured questionnaire administered to 34 older adults randomly selected in a rural community. The four health dimensions are functional independence, quality of life, health habits, and chronic illness, while the sociodemographic characteristics that were studied nclude gender, marital status, education, employment, and living arrangement.