Functional disabilities and associated factors among elderly people in Misungwi District, Mwanza

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


The older population is increasing worldwide and in many countries older people will outnumber younger people in the twenty first century. Change in age structure among the elderly is associated with functional disabilities by limiting performance of daily activities. . Functional disabilities increase dependency and institutionalization, also they are associated with higher mortality among elderly people. This study was carried out to assess functional disabilities in activities of daily living and associated factors among institutionalized and free living elderly in Misungwi district, Mwanza Tanzania. A cross- sectional research design was adopted involving a total of 120 elderly people in which 60 respondents were from Bukumbi elderly centre, 30 were randomly selected from Igokelo ward and 30 from Mabuki ward. A questionnaire-based survey was used to collect information and data were analysed using SPSS version 20, descriptive statistics was computed, independent t-test was performed to test median score difference and chi- square test was performed to determine association and for comparison between two groups. The study found a significant difference (p=0.0489) on the most leading functional disability since about a half (51.7%) of institutionalized elderly revealed mobility as their leading disability while in non-institutionalized respondents the leading disability was toileting (48.3%). In terms of gender, findings revealed that toileting disability was more common among males from both institutionalized and non- institutionalized respondents with 46.3% and 55.5% respectively while mobility disability was common among female respondents from both institutionalized and non- institutionalized with 56.2% and 66.7% respectively. Results of daily energy intake estimated from 3 food record was significantly higher (p=0.03) among institutionalized elderly (1632.3g) than non-institutionalized elderly (1317.0g). Also results showed significant difference (p=0.0182 ) in terms of nutritional status since more than a half (58.1%) of institutionalized respondents showed high prevalence of normal status while in non-institutionalized elderly, about a half (53.7%) showed high prevalence in underweight. In terms of chronic diseases, majority of institutionalized respondents reported leprosy (40%) as their main chronic diseases while majority of non- institutionalized respondents reported arthritis (43.8%) as their main chronic diseases. In conclusion, institutionalised elderly appeared to be better off than their counterparts in terms of daily energy intake, nutritional status reflected by their BMI levels and access to health services and chronic diseases were more prevalent in females than males.


Partial Dissertation MSc. In Human Nutrition


Disabilities functional, Elderly people, Misungwi District, Older population, Mwanza