Quality of life of older adults and associated factors in Ghanaian urban slums: a cross-sectional study

P.Y.A. Attafuah*, I. Everink, A.A. Abuosi, C. Lohrmann, J.M.G.A. Schols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objective This study provides insight into the quality of life (QoL) of older adults living in urban slums in Ghana. Design The study employed a community-based, cross-sectional design to assess QoL among older adults in two slums between April and May 2020. QoL was assessed using the WHO Quality of Life-Brief version (WHOQOL-BREF) questionnaire. Settings Participants were drawn from two slums in Ghana, one in a fishing-dominated community and the other in an industrial community. Participants This study included 400 participants aged 60 and above who had lived in either slum for at least 1 month and were able to communicate verbally. Results Although the means of all participants' transformed scores were poor in the physical and psychological domains, they were moderate in all other domains. When viewed as a whole, the perceived overall QoL is neither poor nor good and participants were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their health. Participants had a moderate level of QoL in the WHOQOL-BREF psychological (mean score 45.7), social (mean score 57.0) and environmental (mean score 51.6) domains. The mean score for physical QoL of older adults was 43.3, which denotes poor QoL. In all domains, male participants have a significantly higher mean QoL than their female counterparts. An analysis of variance comparing the living arrangements of participants showed that those who lived with extended family had high mean scores in environmental QoL, overall QoL and satisfaction with health. Regression analysis revealed that QoL was influenced mostly by the environmental (46.2%), followed by the psychological (43.7%), physical (31%) and social (20.4%) domains. Conclusions The findings from this study show that older adults living in slums had moderate psychological, social and environmental QoL and poor physical QoL. Although the mean scores for QoL are higher than anticipated, health policy development must take into account the specific needs of older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere057264
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • public health
  • social medicine
  • geriatric medicine

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