• Vol. 43 No. 1, 3–10
  • 15 January 2014

Determinants of Health-Related Quality of Life Among Community Dwelling Elderly

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: This study determines the associations between self-reported chronic conditions, limitations in activities of daily living and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among community dwelling elderly in Singapore.

Materials and Methods: A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted among a random sample of 4200 residents from 58 blocks of dwellings in Marine Parade housing estate between April and May 2011. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic characteristics; chronic disease profile, health screenings, healthcare utilisation, physical activity, activities of daily living (ADL) and functional ability and health related quality of life. Quality of life was assessed using European Quality of life 5 Domain (EQ-5D). Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression was used to identify independent predictors of health related quality of life.

Results: A total of 2454 respondents for included for analysis. Most of the respondents were females (57.2%) and aged between 65 and 74 years (48.5%). Among them, 79.1% of the respondents were Chinese. Approximately three-fourth (77.5%) of the survey respondents reported having at least one of the 13 chronic medical conditions; high blood pressure (57.7%), high blood cholesterol (51.6%), diabetes (22.9%) were the most commonly reported conditions. Independent predictors of HRQoL with greatest decrements in EQ-5D index and visual analog scores (VAS) were unemployment, self-reported depression, arthritis and osteoporosis and ADL limitations for activities such as “unable to shower”, “unable to do housework” and elderly with depressive symptoms (GDS score ≥ 5).

Conclusion: The study had identified predictors of HRQoL in elderly Singapore residents and also provides community-based EQ-5D index and VAS scores associated with a wide variety of chronic conditions and ADL limitations.


Singapore is experiencing an unprecedented age shift as the post-war baby boomers turn 65 years in 2012. Currently there are 378,700 people aged 65 and above, and these numbers are estimated to go up to 600,000 by 2020. These growing elderly population have multiple coexisting medical conditions which are often associated with functional decline, disability, higher hospital admissions and emergency department attendances. Health is the most important determinant of the elderly person’s quality of life. It affects all other areas of their life, including their willingness to seek and accept help. Hence, addressing elderly’s healthcare needs is vital to improve their health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

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