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Social context and the burden of ill health among the older adults in India

Bakshi, Sanjeev and Pathak, Prasanta (2010): Social context and the burden of ill health among the older adults in India.

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Abstract

The present study investigates the state of health of the older adults in India from a socioeconomic and cultural perspective. It is based on a countrywide representative sample of 29420 older adults, which was collected as a part of the 60th round of the National Sample Survey in 2004. The state of physical health is defined in terms of the count of chronic diseases and the count of impairments suffered by an older adult. A conceptual framework consisting of the socioeconomic and cultural factors, that are relevant to the life of the older adults, is proposed to model the association between the physical health and the socioeconomic and cultural factors. The findings based on the Poisson regression models affirm the association between ill health and the state of financial dependence. Further, the older males are found to have higher number of expected count of chronic diseases and impairments when compared to the older females. Similarly, the widowed older adults experience a higher expected count of chronic diseases and impairments when compared to their currently married counterparts. Other factors namely, education, living arrangements, economic affluence of the household, place of residence, caste and religion are also found to play significant role in determining the health of the older adults.

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