Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
ALVARENGA, Márcia Regina Martins et al. Social support networks for elderly patients attended by Family Health teams. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.5, pp. 2603-2611. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232011000500030.
The aging process has specific aspects marked by the class of individuals and social groups as well as cultural, political, socio-economic and sanitary conditions of the collective groups. Social support systems are essential for meeting the specific needs of the elderly. The aim of this paper is to describe the socio-demographic profile and the social support networks of elderly patients served by the Family Health Strategy. It's a cross-sectional study with elderly patients living in Dourados, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul (Brazil). Data were collected using a socio-demographic questionnaire and a Minimum Relationships Map for the Elderly (MMRI). Of the 503 elderly patients interviewed, 69% were female, 53.1% were illiterate, 58.3% earned less than one minimum salary and 82.9% lived with others. The MMRI showed that the family was the most important provider of care in all the dimensions assessed, but the elderly have their own small social networks. Elderly patients attended by the Family Health teams have low incomes and little formal education, and social support networks that are too small to meet their needs.
Keywords : Social support; Elderly; Family Health care.