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Health and Social Conditions of Older People in Albania: Baseline Data from a National Survey

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The paper presents the data from a household survey in a representative sample of the population of individuals over 65 years old in three regions of Albania. The survey included a quantitative assessment of socioeconomic situation including poverty, social participation and social exclusion, as well as assessment of ill-health including limitations of daily living activities and chronic conditions.

It was found that older people in urban areas are better covered with social security as compared to older residents in rural and informal areas. One third (32%) of participants reported not good or bad health and the majority (57%) of them were poor or very poor. Significant differences were found with individuals residing in informal areas around Tirana, reporting worse health conditions than elderly people living in urban areas. Approximately one fifth (18%) were totally or partially isolated from social networks. Prevalence of selected chronic conditions ranged from 9 percent to 58 percent. Almost the totality (93%) of the sample experienced some pain and 9 percent were bed-bound. More than one in four (27%) reported not receiving medical care when they needed it.

Demographic trends mixed with a society in economic and political transition raise concerns about increasing needs for care and social inclusion of older people. Moreover, there is a low level of preparation of this society to cope with chronic diseases and long-term care. The findings suggest specific policies and actions to be considered by a number of stakeholders, including government and civic society.


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Correspondence to Alban Ylli MD, MSc, PhD.

Additional information

Recommended Citation: Ylli A. Health and Social Conditions of Older People in Albania: Baseline Data from a National Survey. Public Health Reviews. 2010;32:549–60.

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Key words

  • Eastern Europe
  • aging
  • older adults
  • demographics