Social environment of older people during the first year in senior housing and its association with physical performance
Lotvonen, Sinikka; Kyngäs, Helvi; Koistinen, Pentti; Bloigu, Risto; Elo, Satu (2017-08-25)
Lotvonen, S.; Kyngäs, H.; Koistinen, P.; Bloigu, R.; Elo, S. Social Environment of Older People during the First Year in Senior Housing and Its Association with Physical Performance. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 960.
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Increasing numbers of older people relocate into senior housing when their physical performance declines. The change in social environment is known to affect their wellbeing, providing both challenges and opportunities, but more information on the relations between social and physical parameters is required. Thus, we elicited perceptions of the social environment of 81 older people (aged 59–93 years, living in northern Finland) and changes in it 3 and 12 months after relocation to senior housing. We also measured their physical performance, then analysed associations between the social and physical variables. Participants reported that they had freedom to do whatever they liked and generally had enough contact with close people (which have recognized importance for older people’s wellbeing), but changes in their physical condition limited their social activity. Moreover, their usual walking speed, dominant hand’s grip strength and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) significantly decreased. The pleasantness of the residential community, peer support, constraints on social activity imposed by changes in physical condition, meaningful activity at home and meeting close people all affected these physical performance parameters. Clearly, in addition to assessing physical performance and encouraging regular exercise, the complex interactions among social factors, physical performance and wellbeing should be considered when addressing individuals’ needs.
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