European Journal of Ageing, 2023
Subjective age and the association with intrinsic capacity, functional ability, and health among older adults in Norway
This study investigates the relationships between subjective age, intrinsic capacity, functional ability and health among Norwegians aged 60 years and older. The Norwegian Survey of Health and Ageing (NORSE) is a population-based, cross-sectional study of home-dwelling individuals aged 60-96 years in the former county of Oppland. Age- and sex-adjusted regression models were used to investigate the gap between subjective and chronological age and this gap’s association with self-reported and objectively measured intrinsic capacity (covering all six sub domains defined by WHO), health, and functional ability among 817 NORSE participants. The results show most participants felt younger than their chronological age (86.5%), while relatively few felt the same as their chronological age (8.3%) or older (5.2%). The mean subjective age was 13.8 years lower than mean chronological age. Participants with urinal incontinence, poor vision, or poor hearing felt 3.1 [95% confidence interval (CI) (0.6, 5.5)], 2.9 [95% CI (0.2, 5.6)], and 2.9 [95% CI (0.3, 5.5)] years older, respectively, than participants without those conditions, whereas none of the following factors-anxiety, depression, chronic disease, Short Physical Performance Battery score, grip strength, cognition, or frailty-significantly had an impact on the gap. In line with prior research, this study finds that feeling considerably younger than one’s chronological age is common at older ages. However, those with poor hearing, poor vision, and urinal incontinence felt less young compared to those not having these conditions. These relationships may exert undesirable effects on vitality and autonomy, which are considered key factors of intrinsic capacity and healthy ageing.
Frontiers in Neurology, 2023
Hearing Loss, Hearing Aid Use, and Subjective Memory Complaints: Results of the HUNT Study in Norway
Objective: To study the association between hearing loss severity, hearing aid use, and subjective memory complaints in a large cross-sectional study in Norway.
Methods: Data were drawn from the fourth wave of the Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT4 Hearing, 2017–2019). Hearing threshold was defined as the pure tone average of 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz in the better ear. The participants were divided into five groups: normal hearing or slight/mild/moderate/severe hearing loss. Subjective self-reported short-term and long-term memory complaints was measured by the nine-item Meta-Memory Questionnaire (MMQ). The sample included 20,092 individuals (11,675 women, mean age 58,3 years) who completed both hearing and MMQ tasks. Multivariate analysis of variance (adjusted for covariates of age, sex, education, and health cofounders) was used to evaluate the association between hearing status and hearing aid use (in the hearing-impaired groups) and long-term and short-term subjective memory complaints.
Results: Multivariate analysis of variance, followed by univariate ANOVA and pairwise comparisons showed that hearing loss was associated only with more long-term subjective memory complaints and not with short-term subjective memory complaints. In the hearing-impaired groups, the univariate main effect of hearing aid use was only observed for subjective long-term memory complaints and not for subjective short-term memory complaints. Similarly, the univariate interaction of hearing aid use and hearing status was significant for subjective long-term memory complaints and not for subjective short-term memory complaints. Pairwise comparisons, however, revealed no significant differences between hearing loss groups with respect to subjective long-term complaints.
Conclusion: This cross-sectional study indicates an association between hearing loss and subjective long-term memory complaints, but not with subjective short-term memory complaints. In addition, an interaction between hearing status and hearing aid use for subjective long-term memory complaints was observed in hearing-impaired groups, which calls for future research to examine the effects of hearing aid use on different memory systems.
European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 2022
Impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on level of physical activity and health in home-dwelling older adults in Norway
The spread of the coronavirus in spring 2020 led to a lockdown of physical activity (PA) offers. The aim of this study was to investigate how PA, as well as general and mental health, in community-dwelling older adults were affected by the COVID-19 restrictions in Norway.
Invitation to participate in the study was sent via Facebook and the Norwegian Pensioners’ Association. Inclusion criteria were being ≥ 65 years old and living at home. Participants completed a questionnaire either digitally or on paper in June–August 2020. The questionnaire included questions on PA, general health, and mental health both before (13th of March) and during lockdown.
We included 565 participants (mean age 74 ± 5.3 years, 60.4% female); almost 60% had a university degree, 84% reported performing PA more than once per week, and 20% reported a fall in the previous 12 months. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test indicated that the corona lockdown significantly reduced activity level (Z = -4.918, p < 0.001), general health (Z = -6,910, p < 0.001) and mental health (Z = -12.114, p < 0.001). Those who were less active during lockdown had higher odds of experiencing worse health than those who maintained their activity level, odds ratio: 9.36 (95% CI = 4.71–18.58, p < 0.001) for general health and 2.41 (95% CI = 1.52–3.83, p < 0.001) for mental health. Those who attended organized exercise offers before lockdown had higher odds of being less active during lockdown compared to those who did not exercise in an organized setting, odds ratio: 3.21 (95% CI = 2.17–5.76, p < 0.001).
In a relatively highly educated and active group of older participants, COVID-19 restrictions still negatively affected level of activity as well as general and mental health. These short-term decreases in activity level and health suggest that preventive actions and increased focus on measures to support older adults in maintaining an active lifestyle are needed.
Journal of Aging and Health, 2022
Marital Histories and Associations With Later-Life Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment Risk in the HUNT4 70+ Study in Norway
Objectives: Earlier studies suggest that being married in later life protects against dementia, and that being single in old age increases the risk of dementia. In this study, we examine midlife marital status trajectories and their association with dementia and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at ages 70 plus using a large population based sample from Norway.
Methods: Based on a general population sample linked to population registries (N = 8706), we used multinomial logistic regression to examine the associations between six types of marital trajectories (unmarried, continuously divorced, intermittently divorced, widowed, continuously married, intermittently married) between age 44 and 68 years from national registries and a clinical dementia or a MCI diagnosis after age 70. We estimated relative risk ratios (RRR) and used mediation analyses adjusting for education, number of children, smoking, hypertension, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, mental distress, and having no close friends in midlife. Inverse probability weighting and multiple imputations were applied. The population attributable fraction was estimated to assess the potential reduction in dementia cases due to marital histories.
Results: Overall, 11.6% of the participants were diagnosed with dementia and 35.3% with MCI. Dementia prevalence was lowest among the continuously married (11.2%). Adjusting for confounders, the risk of dementia was higher for the unmarried (RRR = 1.73; 95% CI: 1.24, 2.40), continuously divorced (RRR = 1.66; 95% CI: 1.14, 2.43), and intermittently divorced (RRR = 1.50; 95% CI: 1.09, 2.06) compared to the continuously married. In general, marital trajectory was less associated with MCI than with dementia. In the counterfactual scenario, where all participants had the same risk of receiving a dementia diagnosis as the continuously married group, there would be 6.0% fewer dementia cases.
Discussion: Our data confirm that staying married in midlife is associated with a lower risk of dementia and that divorced people account for a substantial share of dementia cases.
Nurses’ ethical challenges when providing care in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic
Background: Older, frail patients with multimorbidity are at an especially high risk for disease severity and death from COVID-19. The social restrictions proved challenging for the residents, their relatives, and the care staff. While these restrictions clearly impacted daily life in Norwegian nursing homes, knowledge about how the pandemic influenced nursing practice is sparse.
Aim: The aim of the study was to illuminate ethical difficult situations experienced by Norwegian nurses working in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research design and participants: The research design involved semistructured individual interviews conducted with 15 nurses working in 8 nursing homes in 3 health regions in Norway, within both urban and rural areas. Ethical considerations: Oral and written information about the study was provided before the participants gave their written consent. The transcribed interviews were de-identified. The study was approved by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data.
Findings: Four ethical difficult situations were identified: (a) turning the nursing home into a prison; (b) using medication to maintain peace and order; (c) being left alone with the responsibility; and (d) s. impact on decision-making.
Conclusions: The nurses’ ethical challenges were intertwined with external factors, such as national and local guidelines, and the nurses’ own internalized factors, which were connected to their subjective professionality. This duality inflicted emotional distress and gave nurses few opportunities to perform nursing in a professionally sound and safe manner.