A space-time analysis of rural older people’s outdoor mobility and its impact on self-rated health: Evidence from a taiwanese rural village

Tzuyuan Stessa Chao, Xiaoqin Jiang, Yi Sun, Jheng Ze Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

With the aggravation of rural aging, the well-being and self-rated health level of older people in rural communities are significantly lower than those in urban communities. Past studies hold that mobility is essential to the quality of life of the elderly, and well-being depends on their own adaptation strategies in the built environment. Therefore, this study combines three key factors related to active aging: environment, health and mobility, and assumes that the elderly with good health status will have environmental proactivity and a wider range of daily mobility in a poor rural built environment. This study attempts to track daily mobility by using a space–time path method in time geography and then to explore the relationship between outdoor mobility and older people’s self-rated health. A 1-week mobility path survey for 20 senior citizens of Xishi Village, a typical rural village in Taiwan, was conducted by wearing a GPS sports watch. A questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews were done to provide more information about the seniors’ personal backgrounds and lifestyles. The results show that when the built environment is unfit to the needs of daily activities, half of the participants can make adjustment strategies to go beyond the neighborhoods defined by administrative units. Correlation analysis demonstrated that mental health is associated with daily moving time and distance. In addition, men have higher self-rated health scores than women, and there are significant statistical differences between married and widowed seniors in daily outing time and distance. This exploratory study suggests that in future research on rural health and active aging in rural areas, understanding the daily outdoor mobility of the elderly can help to assess their health status and living demands and quickly find out whether there is a lack of rural living services or environmental planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5902
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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