The health of the elderly at Kpeshie Sub-Metro, Accra

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This study was undertaken to assess the health status of the elderly in the Kpeshie Sub-Metro of the Greater Accra Region. The study was a descriptive one. The sample was made up of one hundred elderly, fifty caretakers and five Key Informants. There was however one Key Informant from Accra Metro Health Directorate. The questionnaire was designed using close and open -ended questions, using mostly face-to-face interview. The respondents were selected using both convenience and purposive sampling methods. Data was analysed and presented using percentages, pie and bar charts. The data that were not easy to quantify were described. Findings revealed that majority of the elderly (60%) and their caretakers (84%) have some form of knowledge in nutrition with some of the elderly (32%) explaining it to be “foods which when eaten in their right quantities will make them healthy”. 74% of the elderly agreed that knowledge in nutrition can go a long way in helping the aged to lead a normal life once again. The study also revealed that majority of the elderly is not affected by food accessibility (geographical). 74% explained that the food they took when they were children happened to still be their favourite foods after attaining 60 years and over because it was their delicacy, thus, giving them satisfaction (38%). Even-though, they appreciate their delicacy, 49% complained of difficulty in eating (dental decay or tooth removal), which was taken into consideration during food preparation (61%). It was confirmed when four options were questioned and chewing (36%) happened to be the worst problem experienced. The findings on their health seeking behaviour showed that 66% use the government health facility mostly because of financial difficulties. As to the drugs prescribed, 35% said they wait and go back to the doctor after 2-3 days for the necessary help. 86% also stated that they regularly take their medications, which was confirmed, by 88% of caretakers who stated the same thing. Hypertension was the most rated chronic disease (45%). The research also revealed that majority (46%) lived with family members who happened to meet their food needs (39%). Almost half of the caretakers (50%) explained that they took the elderly for sightseeing and I or when the need arises. Findings revealed that policies and programs outlined by those involved in this area were: • Working out new modalities to enhance the smooth implementation of the exemption policy. • To initiate education for both the elderly and their families towards retirement • To approve the introduction of the health insurance scheme. • The sector Ministries (MOH and Mm. of Manpower Development and Employment) advocacy for lands to construct various recreational parks for the aged throughout the country. From the above findings, the researcher concluded that the managing of the health of the elderly was on the average. The researcher therefore recommended that national health programs on ageing in order to educate the general public in the future as well as conduct more scientific research on the development of sound policies for the aged.
A thesis presented to the Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of in Health Services Planning and Management