LETTER TO THE DIRECTOR

 

Quality of life in the elderly

 

Calidad de vida del adulto mayor

 

 

Osmany Lugo Valdés1*, Yaité Porras Paulín2

1Provincial Health Office. Pinar del Rio. Cuba.

2Medical Science University of Pinar del Rio. Pinar del Rio. Cuba

*Author for correspondence: vicedecano@infomed.sld.cu

 

 

Received: november 10, 2018
Accepted: january 20, 2019
Published: february 05, 2019


Dear Director;

Quality of life and the elderly are topics of interest for our health system, and it gains greater significance when a third element is added: the active participation of medical science students. These issues are of vital significance for Cuba, since it guarantees the adequate quality of life for the elderly and the arrangements in order to achieve a continuous and sustainable development throughout the country.

The decrease of birth and fertility rates, seem to be the most important causes of population aging, while the decrease in mortality appears as a determinant of aging. On the other hand, migrations appear as another influential factor: migratory flows can lead to an increase in the proportions of old people in a given population (1).

It can be affirmed that the increase in the levels of life expectancy and the decrease in the birth rate has determined the inverse pyramid of the population. This phenomenon requires special attention to the elderly who includes the comprehensive assessment of their development, where the quality of life is an essential aspect, since one should aspire not only to live longer, but in better biological and social conditions. With regard to this desirable aim, studies on the quality of life of the elderly play an important role as it is an influential factor related to the psychological, physiological and social well-being of the elderly (1).

The demographic aging has transformed the social panorama in most of the nations and required of numerous researches, with diverse approaches, moving toward the multidimensional features of the society as a new and complex phenomenon that will modify the agenda of the public policies directed to the aged population.

Social Policy is a set of objectives and measures aimed at improving the quality of life and well-being of the population, along with the ways to achieve this well-being. It covers all spheres of life. They are part of the policies drawn up by governments to respond to the needs and demands of the population in order to maintain the health system as well (2).

The experience of the aging of population, due to low fertility rate, as well as being one of the new development characteristics of most societies in the 21stcentury, undoubtedly it represents a success and should be positively valued as such. However, simultaneously with the achievement in the indicators of development that the society experiences due to the continuance of life expectancies, many times, this greater rate of life expectancy is seen at a personal and family level as a problem from medical, social, economic or psychological points of view (2).

Our public health system, in coincidence with the social institutions, family and community, should provide a comprehensive and continuing care to the elderly, to meet their basic, bio-psychosocial and spiritual needs, as well as avoiding the prevalence of chronic diseases, which will lead to a better condition of health in the present, with a view of facing the changes in advance in our society, or in the near future (3).

The family, as the fundamental cell of society, has among its duties to offer care to the elderly, guaranteeing an adequate quality of life. In Cuban society, the assistance to the elderly is established as a priority and a research line to be developed by health personnel. Because of this, in our society, the care of the old population is based on the convergence of government, community and family actions.

Perhaps the present and future truth forces to get used to a decrease in the population, but then it is necessary to enhance the quality, efficiency and productivity of those with whom it counts. Aging should not be treated as a problem, but as an achievement of social and health services in Cuba. The fact of making people live longer is extraordinary, but it must go in agreement with these people, for them to live better.

The country has a remarkable reduction in the frequency of births and certain stability in indicators such as the global fertility rate and the basic reproduction rate. In addition, there is a decrease in the risk of death in infants, which has allowed high life expectancy at birth. This directly affects the aging, along with the age structure of the population, which may cause difficulties in the immediate future perspective and remove the effective capacities of the territory to maintain its economic and social development.

In this way it is a success of the media, both social and scientific, to disseminate these issues that indirectly decide on the future of the sustainable development of the country, being as well, an element of influence for the younger and future health professionals dressed in white coats with respect to the approach of this subject, that finally increase a considerable improvement in the quality of life of our old population.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest

 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

1. Martínez-Brito O, Camarero-Forteza O, González-Rodríguez C, Martínez-Brito L. Calidad de vida del adulto mayor en un consultorio médico del municipio Jaruco. Medimay [Internet]. 2016[cited 2018 Nov 10]; 22(1):[aprox. 11 p.]. Disponible en: http://revcmhabana.sld.cu/index.php/rcmh/article/view/925

2. Ministerio de Salud Pública. Dirección de Registros Médicos y Estadística de salud. Anuario
Estadístico de Salud 2016. [Internet]. 2017 May [citado 2018 Nov 10]. [aprox. 193 p.]. Disponible en: http://files.sld.cu/dne/files/2017/05/Anuario_Estadístico_de_Salud_e_2016_edición_2017.pdf

3. González Rodríguez R, Cardentey García J,El envejecimiento social: presente y futuro. Medicentro Electrónico [internet]. 2015 [citado 2018 Nov 10];19(2):[aprox. 3 p.]. Disponible en: hhttp://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1029-30432015000200007&lng=es

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