Objective: To describe the sociodemographic profile and investigate the habits of elderly patients attending family medicine offices in central Istria, Croatia.
Patients and Methods: This was a retrospective study, conducted in central Istria. Data were obtained by a physical examination, extraction from a recorded history of disease, and using an administered questionnaire. The patients were stratified into three groups: young (65-74 years), middle (75-84 years), and older old age (>85 years). Groups were compared about education, marital status, body mass index, frequency of visits to a family doctor, and habitual activities such as physical activity, smoking, coffee and alcohol consumption, and vitamins/dietary supplements intake, and hobbies.
Results: Overall, 191 patients were included, of which 93 young (49%), 82 middle (43%), and 16 older old (8%). The age groups differed statistically with regard to education and marital status. In the young old group, 53% of subjects had a high school/university diploma, in the middle old 19%, and in the oldest old 12% (p<0.001). The proportion of widowed subjects in the young, middle, and oldest old groups were 16%, 40%, and 50%, respectively (p=0.005). The most common diagnoses were cardiovascular diseases (76-83%), diabetes (41-56%), vision and hearing problems (13-31%), and musculoskeletal disorders (6-29%). The majority of responders were not physically active (59.2%) and had a body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m2 (50-77%).
Conclusion: Understanding the profile of elderly patients is paramount in order to preserve the dignity of living by meeting their health, social, and economic needs.