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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


CARDONA-ARANGO, Doris et al. Dignified social support for elderly institutionalised adults in Medellín, 2008. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2010, vol.12, n.3, pp.414-424. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective Analysing the social support provided for elderly institutionalised adults being cared for in Elderly Welfare Centres (Centros de Bienestar del Anciano de Medellín) in Medellin during 2008. Materials This was a cross-sectional descriptive study (primary information source) which addressed some characteristics related to the social support being received by 273 elderly people institutionalised in 37 social welfare centres. Univariate and bivariate analysis was applied to the data. Results The institutionalised people were mostly single or widowed women aged between 65 and 84 who had received primary and secondary education; most were affiliated to the contributory health regimen. Loneliness, health problems and family decision were the main causes for them having become institutionalised. They were visited by their children and other relatives and such support was rated as being satisfactory; however, more than half of them had feelings of loneliness and one sixth claimed to be humiliated and insulted by their loved ones. It should be noted that a few of them reported being mistreated by their caregivers. Institutionalised elderly adults performed recreational activities, were satisfied with the support received from friends, with cohabitation and the pertinent institution. Conclusions Social support networks were strong within the institution (i.e. Elderly Welfare Centres); the elderly seemed to receive greater abuse from family members and cohabitants than institutional caregivers. Loneliness generally leads elderly adults to become institutionalised; however, once having entered an institution (being partly motivated by little family contact and average satisfaction with friends and the institution itself) their neglect and social vulnerability becomes evident.

Keywords : Social support; family relationship; the aged; institutionalisation.

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