Disability and care-giving in old age in a Nigerian community
Aim: To describe the pattern of disability and care for older community residents in a selected Nigerian location.
Method: Older persons living at home in Okporo Community were first identified through the traditional ruler and his assistant. The socio demographic profiles and any present diseases of these older subjects were obtained through a face- to face interview and they were subsequently assessed with the modified World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule –Short version (WHO DAS-S). The primary care givers of the older subjects were interviewed to obtain their actual care giving role. A summarized Zarit Burden Interview and the twelve item General Health Questionnaire ( GHQ-12 ) were used to measure the emotional impact on the caregivers.
Results: A total of 102 older subjects were recruited, with about 47% having some form of disability. Many co-morbid physical diseases were reported. Most of the older subjects' children had left the community and females were the main care providers. Help with self-care was the greatest problem reported by the carers and care giving was regarded as very heavy burden associated with high emotional distress.
Conclusion: Disability is high in community elderly subjects. Care giving is proving a great challenge in the face of children disserting their parents, and increasing harsh economy. There is need for a systematic, realistic plan to implement qualitative care policy for older Nigerians.
Keywords: Older subjects; disability; care-giving
Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol.10 (1) 2007: pp.58-65