Original Research

Quality of life and physical activity among older adults living in institutions compared to the community

Lesego M. Ramocha, Quinette A. Louw, Muziwakhe D. Tshabalala
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 73, No 1 | a342 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v73i1.342 | © 2017 Lesego M. Ramocha, Quinette A. Louw, Muziwakhe D. Tshabalala | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 July 2016 | Published: 28 July 2017

About the author(s)

Lesego M. Ramocha, Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Quinette A. Louw, Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Muziwakhe D. Tshabalala, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Care Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa


Background: The environment of older adults plays an important role in their well-being. It influences their quality of life and physical activity level. In South Africa, there is a dearth of literature concerning this issue.
Methods: An analytic cross-sectional sample of 80 older adults living in old age homes and the community was compared in terms of level of physical activity and quality of life. The study was conducted in Soweto, Johannesburg. A computer-generated random sample of older adults aged 60 years and above participated. The Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) and RAND 36 questionnaires were used for data collection. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the sample. Unpaired t-tests, Pearson’s correlation coefficient and chi-squared test explored the differences and associations between institutionalised and community living older adults.
Results: Quality of life in old age home dwellers (M = 68.53 ± 19.55) was significantly lower (p = 0.025) than in community dwellers (M = 77.74 ± 16.25). The mean physical activity score was also significantly (p = 0.000) lower in old age home dwellers (M = 20.18 ± 24.52) compared with community dwellers (M = 190.31 ± 82.81).
Conclusion: Older adults who live in the community have a higher quality of life and physical activity levels compared with those who live in institutions (old age homes).


Quality of Life; Physical Activity; Geriatrics; Elderly


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