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Barker, J., Stevens, D. and Bloomfield, S.F. (2001) Spread and Prevention of Some Common Viral Infections in Community Facilities and Domestic Homes. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 91, 7-21.
ABSTRACT: Background: Increase of elderly people living alone has been a concern even in the Philippines where filial piety is widely practiced with the support of large number of young people. Objectives of this study were to examine the relationships between living alone with self-reported illness among community elderly and living alone with health facility utilization among sick community elderly in the Philippines. Methods: Data of 5577 elderly (aged ≥ 60 years) from the 2013 Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey were retrieved. Variables on living arrangements, self-reported illness, frequency of health facility visits, and admission to a health facility were used for analysis. Results: Among the elderly included in the analysis, 5.0% of them were living alone. Percentage of living alone was larger among rural elderly (6.0%) compared with urban elderly (3.6%); and among poor elderly (9.0%) compared with rich elderly (2.8%). Results of adjusted multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the elderly living alone were more likely to report suffering from common colds (AOR 2.12; 95% CI 1.57 - 2.86) or non-communicable diseases (AOR 2.18; 95% CI 1.55 - 3.06), regardless of their socioeconomic status or insurance coverage. Among those who reported illness, the elderly living alone were more likely to visit a health facility with non-communicable disease (AOR 1.95; 95% CI 1.22 - 3.14), after adjustment of other variables. Although elderly living alone who reported illness were likely to be admitted in a health facility, statistically significant association was not observed. Conclusion: Elderly living alone are more likely to report self-reported illness and use health facilities when they recognize their illness.