Feeling good in old age: factors explaining health-related quality of life
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes201816:48
© The Author(s). 2018
Published: 13 March 2018
Sustained growth in longevity raises questions as to why some individuals report a good quality of life in older ages, while others seem to suffer more markedly the effects of natural deterioration. Health-related quality of life (HRQL) is mediated by several easily measurable factors, including socio-demographics, morbidity, functional status and lifestyles. This study seeks to further our knowledge of these factors in order to outline a profile of the population at greater risk of poor ageing, and to identify those attributes that might be modified during younger stages of the life course.
We use nationally representative data for Catalonia (Spain) to explain the HRQL of the population aged 80-plus. Cross-sectional data from 2011 to 2016 were provided by an official face-to-face survey. HRQL was measured using EQ-VAS – the EuroQol-5D visual analogue scale – which summarizes current self-perceived health. Multivariate linear regression was used to identify variables influencing the EQ-VAS score.
Sociodemographic factors, including being older, female, poorly educated and belonging to a low social class, were related with poor HRQL at advanced ages. The presence of severe mobility problems, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression were highly correlated to the HRQL of the elderly, while problems of self-care and with usual activities had a weaker association.
Encouraging the young to stay in education, as well as to adopt healthier lifestyles across the lifespan, might ensure better HRQL when individuals reach old age. More multidisciplinary research is required to understand the multifaceted nature of quality of life in the oldest-old population.
Oldest-old populationHealth-related quality of lifeEuroQol-5DSpain