BACKGROUND: Insomnia is a common disorder in the elderly. Published studies cite prevalence rates ranging from 20-50 percent among the elderly population. No local studies have yet been done to determine the magnitude of this problem among Filipino elderly.
METHODOLOGY: This paper is a prospective, cross-sectional study that was conducted over the period of one year. The subject population was recruited from members of the Coalition of Services of the Elderly, which numbers over 2,000 as of this writing. A questionnaire was formulated which contained items on the demographic characteristics of the population, as well as questions on sleep disorders culled from the DSM-IV. These questionnaires were administered by community gerontologists. Data was then analyzed statistically.
RESULTS: Results showed a prevalence rate of 43 percent (n=417) in this population, mostly women. The sleep disorder most commonly observed was chronic insomnia rather than transient forms. A very small number were taking sleeping pills.
SUMMARY:This study showed that a significant segment of this elderly population suffer from sleep disorders. Education as to nonpharmacologic interventions may be very helpful.