Prevalence of Medical Complaints in the Community-Dwelling Elderly
J. Gindin, M. Geitzn, M. Dushenat, H. Siboni, D. Goldstein, Z. Shapira, N. Konstantin, A. Wurm, A. Goldsmid, E. Hay-Am
Geriatric Institute of Education and Research, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot; Pharmacology Dept., Kupat Holim Klalit, Tel Aviv and Central District; and Kupat Holim Klalit, Rishon LeZion
We assessed the prevalence of self-reported medical complaints among the community-dwelling elderly receiving regular medication, and determined associations between health and sociodemographic variables, and the prevalence of complaints.
The study included 170 patients, 60-90 years of age, living at home. Participants were recruited from the 3 main primary care clinics in Rishon LeZion. All were receiving chronic medication and were followed-up utilizing a long-term medication card. Data were gathered in interviews held in patients' homes using a structured questionnaire which included sociodemographics, diseases and medication, mental state assessment by Katzman's score, and a list of 15 medical complaints common among the aged. Relations to age, gender, education, living arrangements, number of diseases and number of medications per patient were determined.
Mean age of participants was 73.2±6.0 years and they suffered an average of 4.07±2.16 diseases and took 5.10±2.83 types of drugs. The most prevalent complaints were: weakness and fatigue (65.0%), agitation and restlessness (56.4%), dry mouth (45.6%), constipation (43.6%) and dizziness (43.2%). The number of diseases, gender, education and age had the strongest associations with the prevalence of specific complaints, as well as their total number. The association between number of medications and mean number of complaints was of borderline significance.