HEALTH CARE SEEKING BEHAVIOUR AMONG THE AGED IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA
1.1. Background to the Study
Aging refers to a lifelong process and varies in its effect on individuals, and as commonly defined as beginning at the age of 65. (Hess, 2008). Aging is a process of becoming older, it represent the accumulation of changes in a person overtime (Bowen, Richard, Atwood, & Craig 2004). Aging is the gradual change in the structure of any organism that occur in the passage of time, that does not result from disease or other gross accidents and that eventually lead to the increased probability of death as the individual grows older (Miller 2003).
However, Ageing has become a global phenomenon and indeed a critical policy issue receiving some recognition by governments of developed countries where it is reflected in the government‘s vital document of economic and social development strategy (Okoye 2013). Furthermore, globally, the greatest increase in the number of older people is occurring in the developing and middle income countries. Nigeria is not an exception. Nigeria still has a relatively ―young‖ population when compared to most European countries and other countries where life expectancy is high. However, as medical advances allow people to live longer, the proportion of the elderly will increase in Nigeria. (Okoye, 2013).
United Nations Department of Economics and New York Special Affairs Populations Division (2005) observes that the population of Nigerians aged 60 years and above is already increasing. United Nation‘s population profile (2005), shows that there were 5 million Nigerians aged 60 years and above in 2005 and the number will continue to increase by year 2025, it is estimated that 6% of the population will be 60years and above. Abdulraheem (2007) states that it may be necessary for policy makers to consider establishing neighborhood adult day care centres where elderly persons can meet each other during the day. Other services like medical, nutritional, recreational and educational services can also be incorporated into the neighborhood day care centres. Okoye (2013), The use of adult day care centers has been reported by many scholars to be very advantageous to elderly persons and their families.
According to Mion (2003), the delivery of health care to the older adults has been recognized to be more complex than that of younger adults because, the elderly persons utilize the majority of health care service while the complex needs have implication for future health care delivery to the geriatric population, Specifically in Nigeria, where the number of elderly citizens has been on the increase and their health needs receiving popular recognition. Findings on elderly health issues can be used to guide the formulation of comprehensive health services and health education policies and intervention programs for elderly men and women in Nigeria, (World Health Organization (2006). Moe, (2012), highlighs that aging process and problems related to elderly should be better understood so that effective elderly health prevention can be planned and implemented. The need to improve the delivery of care for older adults in home and community settings will be unavoidable although the broad diffusion of transformative technologies offers a significant means to advance the effort of improving quality and reducing cost of care, (Centre for Technology and Aging, 2009).
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Health care services are a major component towards providing quality living, it is a common problem that such services has poise a greater challenges on the health seeking behaviour of the aged individual in Niger State. Health Care is a top social problem facing the aged today the lack of awareness of health care services has poised a treat on the health of the aged, inadequate and poor health care facility management are some of the factors affecting the seeking behaviour of the aged towards practice and utilization particularly those residing in rural areas and poor implementation of National Health Policy. Majority of the aged persons had age associated illnesses such as blood pressure, cardiac problems, diabetes, joint pains, kidney infections, cancer and tuberculosis that take a long time to treat which particularly affect their health seeking behaviour. Aged individuals are found to have patronized traditional healers, resorted to self medication using local herbs or visit chemists‘ shops whenever they are sick. This research therefore seek to assess health care seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State, Nigeria.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was :
- to find out the effect of aging on health care seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State;
- to find out the practice of the aged person on health care seeking behaviour in Niger State;
- to find out whether gender has any differences on health seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State;
- to find out whether the aged persons are aware of the health problems affecting them in Niger State; and
Vi. to find out whether educational level has influence on health seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State.
1.4 Research Questions
In other to address the problem of this research, the following research questions were raised;
- What is the effect of aging on health care seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State?
- What is the practice of the aged person on health care seeking behaviour in Niger State?
- Does gender has any differences on health seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State?
- Are the aged persons aware of the health problems affecting them in Niger State?
- Does educational level have any influence on health seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The outcome of this study will be significant in the following ways;
- Motivate law makers to formulate policies regarding health of the aged persons by making sure that appropriate provision of health facility are made available for aged persons to access easily when needed in Niger State.
- Reveal to individual and society including health centre that the aged persons in Niger State require constant support and care.
- Non -governmental organization would also find this study useful in designing health education campaign for the aged persons in Niger State,
- The findings or outcome of this study will be of greater benefits to future researchers while researching into similar studies.
- Motivate the health educators to create awareness that exercise, proper diet and health information can promote heath while been aged in Niger State.
- Enable the community based health workers organize health program for the aged in Niger State.
1.6 Major Hypothesis
There is no significant difference among the aged persons in health care seeking behaviour in Niger State.
The following sub- hypothesis were formulated;
- There is no significant effect of aging on health care seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State.
- There are no significant differences on practice of the aged person on health care seeking behaviour in Niger State.
- There are no significant differences among gender on health seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State.
- There are no significant difference in the awareness of the aged on health problems affecting them in Niger State.
- There are no significant differences among aged of different educational qualification on health seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State.
1.7 Basic Assumption
Based on this study, the following basic assumptions were formulated.
- Effects of aging may be detrimental to health care seeking behaviour among the aged groups in Niger State.
- Practice may determine health care seeking behaviour among the aged groups in Niger State.
- Gender status may determine health care seeking behaviour among the aged groups in Niger State.
- Awareness may determine preventive health care seeking behaviour among aged groups in Niger State.
- The aged level of education may determine their health care seeking behaviour among aged groups in Niger State.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
The research was delimited to the study of health care seeking behaviour among the aged in Niger State, Nigeria. The respondents for the study comprise of all the male and female aged within the state.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The study has the following limitation; The study used questionnaire as its main instrument. Explanation was made on any statement that was not clear to the respondent.