A Comparative Study of Morbidity Patterns in Elderly Women of Rural and Urban Areas of Upper Assam, India

Aging is a natural process with its own dynamics, largely outside of human control. The elderly have distinct health issues, different from those of younger adults. This study focused on the socio-demographic profile and morbidity patterns among elderly women in Upper Assam. Conducting a cross-sectional study, women aged 60 and above were chosen through multistage random sampling from both urban and rural districts of Upper Assam and interviewed with a pre-tested schedule. Analysis was performed using SPSS 16. Out of 200 elderly women interviewed, 97 were from urban areas and 103 from rural areas. A majority resided in nuclear families (59.26%) and were illiterate (25.00%). The prevalent illnesses included eye conditions (68.5%), musculoskeletal (59.7%), and mental health issues (29.75%). Urban elderly women reported higher rates of mental health issues (35%), diabetes (23.5%), hypertension (39%), and obesity (35%) compared to their rural counterparts. Conversely, anemia (43%), malnutrition (38.5%), and respiratory issues (16%) were more frequent among the rural elderly. The study highlights that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and mental health concerns are more prevalent among the urban elderly, while anemia, malnutrition, and respiratory and skin conditions are more common in rural areas.