New findings by TILDA (the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing) have been published. TILDA is a nationally representative study which has been tracking the health, wealth and social lives of over 8,000 people in Ireland aged 50 or over since 2009.
Chapters on health, quality of life, social engagement, living conditions, and health utilisation are included. This report includes the findings of the Wave 4 of data collection, along with results from the analysis of the combined data from Wave 1 – Wave 4.
Some of the key findings include:
- Three in five (58%) older adults in Ireland have problematic housing conditions, mainly related to damp or mould, a new study from TILDA has found.
- One in five (19%) has carried out modifications to their home to make it easier to live in as they age.
- There has been a 4.6% drop in the numbers of older adults having difficulty heating their home, though it remains a problem for 30% of those who don’t have central heating.
- Quality of Life peaks at age 68 and declines slowly after that until the age of 80 when it reverts to the level observed among 50-year-olds.
- Social factors have the biggest impact on quality of life including social networks and social activities, though health-related factors such as being unable to carry out day-to-day activities are also important.
- One third of women (31%) have positive supportive friendships compared with just 16% of men.
- Quality of life decreases with increasing number of chronic health conditions.
- There has been a big increase in the number of older people with arthritis up from 26% at Wave 1 to 39% in Wave 4. Prevalence rises sharply with age with over half of those aged 75+ affected.
- There were also increases in the numbers with high blood pressure (35% to 38%), heart attack (4% to 6%), stroke (1% to 2%) and diabetes (8% to 11%) since Wave 1.
- Nearly half of adults (48%) walk less than the recommended 150 minutes per week and this has been increasing since Wave 1, particularly in those aged 75+.
- The use of acute hospital services by older adults has risen sharply since 2009 with the number of hospital admissions, the number of bed nights in hospital and visits to Emergency Departments all up. Use of community services such as physiotherapy, dietitians and dental services has remained low or fallen.
- This increased use of acute services is particularly evident amongst frail people where hospital admissions and visits to the Emergency Department have both risen to 31%, and the number of bed nights in hospital has doubled to 6.5.
There are lots more interesting findings in the report available here.