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Analysis of health, functioning and disability of rural inhabitants aged 60–80 living in south-eastern Poland – a cross sectional study

Institute of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rzeszow, Poland
Centre for Innovative Research in Medical and Natural Sciences, Medical Faculty, University of Rzeszow, Poland
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the aging of the European population has been observed, and the potential long-term social and economic problems have been flagged.

The aim of the study was assessment of the level of disability and multidimensional analysis of determining factors among the elderly living in rural areas.

Material and Methods:
The study was conducted in a population of 973 people aged 60–80 living in south-eastern Poland. The research tool used in the study was the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule – WHODAS 2.0.

As many as 28.26% of the study group had at least a moderate level of disability; severe disability was observed in 11.51 % of the participants, and extreme disability was experienced by 0.21%. The highest average level of disability in the study group was found in performing activities of daily living (mean = 28.94; SD = 30.04), participation in everyday life (mean = 28.40; SD = 23.29) and mobility (mean = 26.04; SD = 27.57). Statistically significant relationships were observed between age, gender, education level, physical activity and number of chronic diseases.

An increase in the level of education and popularization of physical activity may be helpful in reducing the prevalence of disability among the elderly inhabitants of rural areas. Increasing access to health care, aimed at rapid diagnosis of chronic diseases, treatment and rehabilitation, seems to be a reasonable action preventing the disability in rural areas.

Agnieszka Ćwirlej-Sozańska   
Institute of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Rzeszow, Poland
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