The results are in and I’ve spent the weekend creating cute little graphs for each question. They will be posted during most of this week in small groupings of questions so we don't succumb to information overload and can have a sensible discussion about what we’ve discovered.
We start today with Personal Data. Each question precedes any commentary I have and the graph of the results. 402 people took the entire survey; 400 answered these questions unless otherwise noted.
Here are some things to keep in mind about the Survey:
- It is not balanced against the general population
- It is not balanced against even the elder population
- Respondents are self-selected, so not a representative sample
- Therefore, the survey has no statistical validity
Nevertheless, because the survey was distributed mostly among elderbloggers themselves and other elders who read blogs, we can get a bit of an idea of who we are and what we are like. So…
According to the survey, the average elderblogger or elder blog reader who participated is a healthy, white, 60-something woman who is well educated, married or living with her first spouse or partner, has two children, a couple of grandchildren, drives a car and taught herself how to use a computer. Here are the details:
1. What is your gender?
When I’ve been asked what the male-to-female ratio of TGB readers is, I’ve guessed at about 20 percent men and look at this. How clever of me.
2. What is your ethnicity?
We are overwhelming white, except for one joker who wrote in “humankind,” so I included him or her with mixed ancestry.
3. How old are you?
4. What is your level of education?
We are a remarkably well-educated group. A majority of 65.3 percent hold undergraduate and graduate degrees, which is a little intimidating to this high school graduate.
5. What is your marital status?
6. How many times have you been married?
7. How many children do you have?
8. How many grandchildren do you have?
9. Do you have great grandchildren?
10. Do you have have any chronic illnesses or other health problems that limit or restrict your mobility?
11. If you answered yes to question 10, how do health problems limit your mobility or restrict you in other ways?
Ninety of 400 respondents to Question 10 left messages about how their health limits their lives. There is a total of more than 20 infirmities, which doesn’t lend itself to a graph since so many answers were one-of-a-kind. Here are some of the answers:
- 25 live with arthritis of several types
- 13 live with knee and other joint problems
- 7 live with fatigue and weakness
- 5 live with heart disease
- 4 live with COPD, emphysema, other lung problems
- 3 live with the results of stroke
- 3 live with asthma
- 3 live with chronic pain
- 3 live with diabetes
- 2 live with fibromyalgia
Other conditions reported by single individuals include multiple sclerosis, cancer, seizures, migraines, kidney disease, depression and hearing loss.
12. Do you drive a car?
28. How did you learn to use a computer?
Close to 50 percent of 390 who answered this question taught themselves how to use a computer. When you realize that, unlike today's teenagers and young adults who were born clutching a tiny computer mouse, and that elders were confronted with computers in mid- or late-life, that is an astonishing number. Don't forget how confusing and overwhelming computers are at first. I don’t ever want to hear again from the media that elders are technology-phobic.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at our housing arrangements, employment and financial condition.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, the first in our week-long series of Mother’s Day stories, Mama’s Sayings.]