Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya

Co-organiser

Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya

DIFFICULTY IN MANAGING STAIRS AMONG OLDER PEOPLE IN RURAL MALAYSIA

Author

Noran N Hairi, Bulgiba AM, Mudla IM

Institution

University Malaya
Ministry of Health

Abstract

Objectives: Managing stairs is a challenging activity of daily living for older people. This study aims to examine the association between visual impairment and difficulty in managing stairs among older people living alone and living with others. The hypothesis was that older people with visual impairment and living alone would report greater difficulty in managing stairs.

Methods: Data were analyzed from a cross- sectional study of 765 people aged 60 years and over, conducted from 2007 to 2008 in rural Malaysia. Difficulty in managing stairs was measured according to a question drawn from the Barthel Index which asks “do you need help in climbing stairs”. Visual acuity (VA) criteria were used to define visual impairment. Presenting visual acuity was assessed using a standard metric Snellen Chart of E type.

Results: Difficulty in managing stairs was more frequently reported among older people with visual impairment. Older people with visual impairment and living alone reported higher odds of difficulty in managing stairs (aOR 5.18, 95% CI 2.76, 9.79) than those who had visual impairment but living with others (aOR 3.20, 95% CI 1.54, 6.71).

Conclusion: In a sample of older adults aged 60 years and over, those living alone with visual impairment had greater difficulty in managing stairs than those living with others. Identification of these groups of older adults is useful for targeting interventions.