Authors: Mary Joyce D. Bernardo and Melanie P. Tolentino

Research Article

Year: 2019, Volume 19 Number 3

Pages: 155-166

Abstract

Social capital is becoming a well-studied social construct that establishes its relevance in uplifting the well-being and health of diverse social categories. A survey was conducted among 120 individuals aged 60 years and above who were randomly selected from the list of senior citizens in Quezon, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. In this study, the social capital of the elderly population in a rural community and its relation to their health status and health-seeking behaviors is examined. The social capital of the elderly is determined based on the following five domains—general trust, social support, social networks, social participation, and close ties. Their health status is based on a self-rated evaluation of: being free from chronic diseases in the last three months, being capable of performing daily activities, having lucid memory, and having life satisfaction. Their health-seeking behaviors are described in terms of frequency in which they rely on self-care, medical professionals, traditional medicines, familial, and non-familial support system. Results from the correlation and multiple regression analyses suggest that the elderly describe themselves as most healthy in that they are capable of performing daily activities, whereas they describe themselves as least healthy in that they experience chronic diseases in the last three months. Self-care, which includes having a healthy diet, exercise, and fun, is their top health-seeking behavior, but it should be noted that having close ties and social participation tend to determine better self-care among the elderly. Although accessing medical professionals is uncommon among the elderly, the findings indicate that the said health-seeking behavior tends to become more frequent with increasing social support. Results are relevant for identifying social innovations in the context of networks and social support that they may promote better health among the elderly in rural communities.

Keywords: community social capital, elderly, health status, health-seeking behaviors, Philippines