Background Japanese agriculture is often a collection of small landowners. Farmland is maintained by men who also work for a company. Agricultural work continues even after retirement. It is important for elderly people to protect themselves from accidents. Agricultural areas are sparsely populated making health maintenance even more important. The purpose of this study is to analyse the understanding and physical status of elderly farmers.
Methods Participants of an agriculture company, a mutual aid organisation, in rural areas. A questionnaire, interview and physical measurement was conducted. Analysis was performed using the t-test.
Results Questionnaire; 119 farmers (82 men and 37 women) average age 65.8 years old.
64 had knee pain (54.2%), 55 had waist pain (46.6%).(When sleeping facing up, there was waist pain: 43, 46.8%)(Waist pain when bending: 47, 37.9%)(Painful to divert the waist: 52, 54.8%) (Painful to twist the waist: 35, 28.2%) (Painful in the same position: 70, 68.5%) Physical function; bending: pain in the knee: 34.9 cm (no pain: 29.9 cm) (p = 0.02), best walking 5.0 seconds (5.5 seconds) (p = 0.048). Normal walking 10 metres; pain in the waist: 7.64 seconds, (no pain: 7.00 seconds) (p = 0.049).
Conclusions Performing agricultural work continues in order to maintain the ancestral farmland. Farmers of advanced age have problems with pain in the knee and waist. Their bodies have weakened due to ageing. They were feeling pain when they bend, stretch or twist. There is a fear of falling when trying to stand. Scaffolding around the work area should be in place. Before and after agricultural work, stretching exercise is required. However, stretching exercise is difficult for farmers because of the pain in the knee and waist. Methods for easily achievable exercise need to be designed and taught to farmers.
- agricultural workers
- elderly Japanese
- farm management
- safety management