The proportion with at least one outpatient clinic visit fell (from 69 per cent to 59 per cent) and the average number of outpatient clinic visits decreased (from 3.1 per cent visits to 2.1 per cent visits).
Another key finding in the new report is that quality of life doesn’t decline linearly with age, but instead increases to a peak at age 68 and then starts to gradually decline, reaching the value observed among 50 year olds at age 80 and decreases steadily from that age onwards.
Over 21 per cent of TILDA respondents reported the highest level of social integration in Wave 4, with 39 per cent moderately integrated, 29 per cent moderately isolated and 11 per cent most isolated. This compared to 24 per cent, 41 per cent, 27 per cent and 8 per cent in Wave 1 respectively. Those reporting highest levels of social integration had higher mean quality of life scores than those reporting lower levels of social integration for both men and women.
Over half of older adults reported problematic housing conditions. The most prevalent issue was damp, mould or moisture.
Speaking on the release of the findings, Lead Academic, Professor Rose-Anne Kenny stated: “In TILDA, quality of life continues to improve with age and more so if social engagement is strong, including for persons who have significant disabilities, who experience better quality of life and mental health if their relationships are strong. This extends to connectedness and solidarity within neighbourhoods – underscoring the important role for public health of supportive neighbours and safe neighbourhoods.”
The new findings by TILDA present the ‘Change in life circumstances’ for Ireland’s over 50s between 2009 and 2016. Chapters on health, quality of life, social engagement, living conditions, and health utilisation are included. This report includes the findings of the Wave 4 of data collection, along with results from the analysis of the combined data from Wave 1 – Wave 4.