Health and Wellbeing of Older People

Understanding the older population

The UK has a growing older population and this is particularly the case in West Sussex where there is a proportionately higher number of older people in the region. West Sussex NHS and the local authority wanted to find out more about the specific issues and circumstances that impact upon the health and wellbeing of older residents in the county.

The aims and objectives of the research

Qa was commissioned by the West Sussex NHS and local authority to undertake a large Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) survey with residents aged over 65 years living within West Sussex. The overall aim of this study was to…
“…better understand the issues around health and well-being of older people in West Sussex… to inform those who are currently developing services and policies to promote health and well-being of older people in the area.”

  • Understand the differences in health and well-being of older people between the 7 districts in West Sussex as well as the County as a whole
  • Identify differences in health and well-being between individuals of different gender and age
  • Explore differences in health and well-being between Local Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (LNIA) and non LNIAs
  • Explore levels of social isolation and loneliness within the County
  • Identify areas where West Sussex may want to improve promotion of health ageing and tackle social determinants of health and well-being.

Undertaking the research

Qa completed 2,800 surveys in a 6 week period, with a team of experienced interviewers working in our in-house Contact Centre. Interviewers were alerted to the potentially sensitive nature of the project such as the fact that a number of the respondents may be hard of hearing and were encouraged to treat each respondent with respect and consideration.

The Key Findings

The completed report included sections on caring and the home, relationships and social contact and a section on general health. The questionnaire also obtained a range of indicators for health status, including self-reported health. The results of the study illustrated both the current challenges faced by post 65s in the region and the positive aspects of their lives.

The report will assist West Sussex NHS, County Council and their partners who are responsible for delivering services to older people in the region, plan for the needs of post 65s in the County.

What the Researcher said:

Helen Hardcastle, who leads Qa’s Contact Centre, said “We were very aware of the sensitivity of this project, particularly as some of the interviews were conducted around the Christmas period, traditionally a difficult time for some elderly people. We also agreed with the client to gather any general feedback on loneliness or any other issues that were not specifically covered in the survey. These verbatim comments were supplied with the raw data along with the report to the client.”

For more information contact Michael Fountain on 01904 632039 or email