Poorer Health Outcomes for Elderly in Public Housing

Increased prevalence of fatigue and comorbid conditions compared to community-dwelling elders

MONDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Elders residing in public housing have poor self-rated health status as well as increased prevalence of fatigue and comorbid conditions compared to those who live in the community, according to a study published in the Winter issue of Ethnicity & Disease.

Pamela L. Parsons, Ph.D., from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and colleagues compared trends in fatigue prevalence and the health status of adults over the age of 50 living in public housing to their community-dwelling counterparts. Study participants included 16,191 individuals interviewed in 2006 with complete data on housing status and self-reported measures of health status and functioning, recruited from the Health and Retirement Study. Outcome measures included self-reported fatigue, health conditions, overall mobility, large muscle functioning, and gross and fine motor functioning.

The investigators found that elders living in public housing were more likely to rate their health as fair or poor compared to those with no experience living in public housing (57.3 and 26.9 percent, respectively). Those living in public housing had increased prevalence of comorbid conditions, including cardiac conditions, stroke, diabetes, and psychiatric conditions. Fatigue was more widespread among elders living in public housing compared to community-dwelling elders (26.7 and 17.8 percent, respectively).

"Regardless of ethnicity, persons living in public housing settings are more likely to experience fatigue, have poorer self-rated health, and comorbid conditions," the authors write.

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