The purpose of this study was to find out the health care seeking behavior among the aged in Imo State. To achieve this purpose the ex- post facto research design was used to assess 399 respondents drawn from Ihiagwa through stratified sampling technique. A closed ended questionnaire was used to obtain responses from the respondents, 400 copies of questionnaire were distributed to the respondents while 399 copies were received. Data collected for this study were analyzed using descriptive statistics of frequency counts, percentage mean and standard deviations and inferential statistics of ANOVA, scheffe post hoc test and independent t- test. 0.05 level of significance was used for all test of significance. The findings show that age has significant effect in health care seeking behavior among the aged group in Imo State and poor health care seeking behavior is present among age 80 years and above compared to 60 – 64 and 70 – 74 years respectively. It was concluded that age is a significant factor in decreasing healthcare seeking behavior among the aged in Imo State. It was recommended that the government should embark on massive enlightenment programs for the aged in other to educate them and encourage them on health services available to them and also seek them when needed. Cost reduction and disease management should also be considered.
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. Ihiagwa is not an exception. Ihiagwa 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 Ihiagwa. (Okoye, 2013).
United Nations Department of Economics and New York Special Affairs Populations Division (2005) observes that the population of Ihiagwans aged 60 years and above is already increasing. United Nation‘s population profile (2005), shows that there were 5 million Ihiagwans 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 60 years and above. Abdulraheem (2007) states that it may be necessary for policy makers to consider establishing neighborhood adult day care centers 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 centers. 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.