Following along on results from the 2013 Elderblogging Survey, today we'll look at health and related end-of-life issues. The usual caveats for this kind of survey apply:
Also, please note that the capital letter “R” does not show up well when it appears in a label on the horizontal axis (it's a free, online chart service , and I don't know how to fix that). Total of percentages may be slightly off due to rounding.
Do you have any chronic illnesses?
This question included whether such conditions restricted mobility or limited life in other ways.
How do your health problems limit or restrict your life?
This was an open-ended question to which respondents wrote their answers rather than choosing from a list. About 135 answered but due to complexities and overlaps of responses, there are no numbers or percentages. Most of the problems reported are common among elders.
Pain – chronic or intermittent and severe to mild - from varieties of sources were mentioned most frequently. Arthritis is the biggest culprit. A lot of foot and knee pain limits the ability to walk for many and back pain keeps some readers at home more than they would like.
Breathing problems including COPD, asthma and others plague more than a few. There was less mention of back pain than I would have guessed.
Several people mentioned that they tire easily, that their energy and stamina are reduced from when they were younger which we've discussed in these pages from time to time. Quite a few report diabetes.
While a lot of people shared the above-mentioned diseases and conditions, this one was unique:
“Bullet to the hip – re-learning how to walk smoothly and efficiently.”
I'm pretty sure I know how this happened and am so glad the person is here to do the re-learning.
In general, how is your health?
Even with all those impediments in the question above, just over 80 percent of us rate ourselves quite healthy.
Do you drive a car?
I'm impressed with how many of us drive. Only two people in the question about health restrictions mentioned that they can no longer drive.
If you no longer drive, how to you get around?
The "Public" label means public transportation.
Do you have a will?
Let me say right away that on this question and the three following, I'm impressed with how many of us have prepared for our demise by having the documents our survivors will need.
Do you have an advance directive?
Do you have a DNR (do not resuscitate) order?
Have you appointed a health proxy, sometimes called a health advocate, who will make decisions for you if you are unable to do so?
Are you a full- or part-time caregiver?
I'm surprised that less than 10 percent are doing this right now. I think (?) that's a good thing.
Beginning with this chart, the label "percentage" does not appear on the left. My mistake and I didn't have time to re-do the charts.
If you are currently a caregiver, whom do you care for?
The yellow bar is labeled Other Relative.
What is your employment status?
On the chart, FT means full time away from home; PT means part time away from home.
If you are employed, how many hours a week do you work?
Do you volunteer? If so, how many hours per week?
Another mistake: I forgot to provide a choice for “no.”
If you keep pets, what kind do you have?
I mentioned yesterday that I cannot get correct percentages on questions like this one that allowed multiple choices. 319 people answered but we don't know how many of them selected more than one answer. Sorry.