Document Type : Original Article



BACKGROUND: Mental health problems such as cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety, and sleep
disorders arising out of senility, neurosis, and living conditions are common in the geriatric population.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of mental illness and to describe
their sociodemographic factors in the rural geriatric population and see their association with other factors.
METHODOLOGY: A community‑based cross‑sectional study was done on individuals aged more
than 60 years. The study instruments were predesigned semi‑structured questionnaire, Folstein’s
Mini–Mental Status Examination Scale for assessing dementia in cognitive functioning and Yesavages
Geriatric Depression Scale to estimate the prevalence of depression and to assess the activities
of the daily living by Barthel index and the anxiety were assessed based on the perception of the
participants while conducting the interview.
RESULTS: A total of 415 individuals participated, out of them 199 (47.9%) were males and
216 (52.1%) were females. Prevalence of mental illness was 217 (52.2%) with one or the other type
of mental illness. The prevalence of cognitive impairment was 47.7% and depression according to
Geriatric Depression Scale >5 was 27.7%. The remaining 62 (14.9%) had dementia and 30 (7.2%)
had anxiety disorder as the mental illness. The socio‑demographic factors such as age more than
70 years, female gender, illiterates, living in joint family, middle and lower socio‑economic class,
financially totally dependent and had poor and unfair relationship with the family members were
strongly associated with the mental illness and it was statistically significant with P < 0.05.
CONCLUSION: Measures should be taken to support the elders, establish community elderly
societies, advisory offices, and services to help the elderly. The sequence of social interventions
required for the management of the elderly psychological problems.


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