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October 13, 2009

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Elderly won't admit to being ill, survey finds

THE majority of Shanghai's senior citizens tend to hide any illnesses and are afraid of going to hospital, according to a survey.
The main reasons given were their economic condition and the fear of hearing bad news, the Shanghai Association of Quality said yesterday.
Its survey, which aimed to gauge elderly people's happiness, involved 2,725 Shanghai residents and about 1,500 in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
The survey showed that the "happiness index" for seniors in the city was 77.27, which meant that most seniors "felt happy in daily life." The index was a bit higher than last year's.
But problems also emerged. The survey showed that only about 18 percent of those interviewed had regular physical examinations, and only about 34 percent were willing to go to hospital when they didn't feel well. Most thought they didn't have to seek help for minor illnesses or just took medicine themselves.
Researchers said the elderly tended to be more frugal than young people, regarding hospital as wasting money.
"It's a common problem," Yin Zhigang, deputy director of the Shanghai Research Center on Aging, said. "Chinese seniors are conservative, and tend to rely on their own experience on judging disease, thinking that they can overcome it by themselves."
The survey found that senior citizens didn't want to undergo long-term treatment even if doctors found it necessary. "I just want to stay as usual for the rest of my life, not spending much time at hospital," said 88-year-old Ruan Chengying.
The survey also showed that about 25 percent of senior citizens interviewed complained that their life was rather boring. But those who took part in community activities felt happier than those didn't.


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