Association between sensory impairments and restricted social participation in older adults: A cross-sectional study



      Sensory impairments are common health concerns in older adults and are associated with cognitive decline and depression. Restriction in social participation is likely to be a key factor in explaining the association between sensory impairments and adverse outcomes. Studies on sensory impairments associated with restricted social participation are limited.


      To examine associations between hearing impairment, visual impairment, dual sensory impairment, and restricted social participation in older adults.


      A cross-sectional study was conducted. Older adults aged ≥ 65 years (N = 600) were recruited from community health centres in northern Taiwan. Hearing and visual function were measured with pure-tone audiometry and visual acuity tests. Restricted social participation was defined as with or without restricted social participation by the type and frequency of social activity participation. Data for sociodemographic characteristics, physical function, mobility, depression, and social support were collected by means of an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, univariate analysis, and multivariate logistic regression models were employed.


      The participants had a mean age of 73.8 years and 64.8% were female. Hearing impairment, visual impairment, and dual sensory impairment were reported by 25.6%, 6.8%, and 5.3% of participants. Multivariate analysis showed older adults with dual sensory impairment and hearing impairment were significantly associated with increased risk of restricted social participation.


      Hearing impairment and dual sensory impairment were the most relevant risk factors with a significant influence on restricted social participation in older adults. Further studies to develop appropriate interventions to promote social participation are strongly recommended.


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