BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to assess the health needs and priorities of older people in Kosovo, the newest state in Europe striving for a functional democracy after the breakdown of former Yugoslavia and the following war in the region. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Kosovo in 2011 including a nationwide representative sample of 1890 individuals aged ≥65 years (949 men, mean age: 73 ± 6 years; 941 women, mean age: 74 ± 7 years; overall response rate: 84%). All individuals were administered the full version of EASY-Care Standard 2010 instrument, inquiring about the need for support in activities of daily living ('independence'), the 'risk of breakdown in care' (leading to emergency admission to hospital) and the 'risk of falls'. RESULTS: The degree of 'independence' was lower, whereas the 'risk of breakdown in care' and the 'risk of falls' were significantly higher in: older women; the oldest individuals (≥85 years); rural residents; participants living alone; those perceiving themselves as poor; participants who could not access medical care; those who perceived their general health status as poor; and older people who reported at least one chronic condition. CONCLUSIONS: This is one of the very few reports from Southeast European region informing about the health needs and priorities of older people in a large and representative population-based sample of older men and women. The poor health status of older people, especially evident in the socio-demographic disadvantaged categories, should raise the awareness of policymakers and decision-makers for appropriate health and social care of elderly in Kosovo and in other European countries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health