Article

Attitudes About Aging Well Among a Diverse Group of Older Americans: Implications for Promoting Cognitive Health

Department of Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA.
The Gerontologist (Impact Factor: 3.21). 06/2009; 49 Suppl 1(S1):S30-9. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnp084
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

To examine perceptions about aging well in the context of cognitive health among a large and diverse group of older adults.
Forty-two focus groups were conducted with older adults living in the community (N = 396; White, African American, American Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Hispanic). Participant descriptions of "someone who you think is aging well" were analyzed. Constant comparison methods examined themes by race/ethnicity.
There were notable race/ethnicity differences in perceptions of aging well. Compared with other racial/ethnic groups Chinese participants were more likely to emphasize relationships between mental outlook and physical abilities, Vietnamese participants were less likely to emphasize independent living. American Indians did not relate aging well to diet or physical activity. Important themes that emerged about aging well for all racial/ethnic groups were as follows: living to advanced age, having good physical health, having a positive mental outlook, being cognitively alert, having a good memory, and being socially involved.
To promote cognitive health among diverse populations, communication strategies should focus on shared perceptions of aging well, such as living to an advanced age with intact cognitive function, having a positive attitude, and being mobile. Health promotions may also create a range of culturally sensitive messages, targeted to views that are more salient among some racial/ethnic groups.

  • Source
    • "Across racial and ethnic groups, older adults and their caregivers defined successful cognitive aging as absence of cognitive impairment, staying “sharp” and “clear minded,” having a good memory, and staying involved in stimulating activities like games (2,3). They believed health behaviors and physical health are tied to cognitive health (4). In the second project, Day and colleagues (5) developed and deployed a 5-item module on cognitive impairment and dementia in the 2008 Porter Novelli DocStyles survey of primary care physicians specializing in family or internal medicine who had been practicing for at least 3 years. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction To facilitate national efforts to maintain cognitive health through public health practice, the Healthy Brain Initiative recommended examining diverse groups to identify stakeholder perspectives on cognitive health. In response, the Healthy Aging Research Network (HAN), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coordinated projects to document the perspectives of older adults, caregivers of people with dementia, and primary care providers (PCPs) on maintaining cognitive health. Our objective was to describe PCPs’ perceptions and practices regarding cognitive health. Methods HAN researchers conducted 10 focus groups and 3 interviews with physicians (N = 28) and advanced practice providers (N = 21) in Colorado, Texas, and North Carolina from June 2007 to November 2008. Data were transcribed and coded axially. Results PCPs reported addressing cognitive health with patients only indirectly in the context of physical health or in response to observed functional changes and patient or family requests. Some providers felt evidence on the efficacy of preventive strategies for cognitive health was insufficient, but many reported suggesting activities such as games and social interaction when queried by patients. PCPs identified barriers to talking with patients about cognitive health such as lack of time and patient reactions to recommendations. Conclusion Communicating new evidence on cognitive health and engaging older adults in making lasting lifestyle changes recommended by PCPs and others may be practical ways in which public health practitioners can partner with PCPs to address cognitive health in health care settings.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Preventing chronic disease
  • Source
    • "The themes stressed by focus group participants in this case study contrast with the themes and subthemes identifi ed by two English-speaking Hispanic focus groups on the same topic (Laditka et al., 2009). This is not to say that language was the main difference; we expect differences in household income, education, neighborhood deprivation , and degree of assimilation to say the least. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study describes the perceptions of brain health among older Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans who reside in colonia areas of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. In 2007, 33 Mexican American older adults (9 men and 24 women) were recruited by promotoras (community health workers) from clusters of colonias in Hidalgo County to participate in focus group discussions conducted in Spanish. After participants completed a 19-item questionnaire (in Spanish), a bilingual and bicultural researcher from the community, trained as a moderator, conducted 4 focus groups using a semistructured interview guide, culturally modified with the assistance of promotoras. All discussions were audio recorded; audio recordings were transcribed verbatim in Spanish and then translated into English. Analyses were conducted in English. Almost 85% had less than a high school education and 100% reported a household income less than $20,000/year. Groups attached cultural meaning to aging well. The idea of "staying straight in the mind" resonated as a depiction of brain health. Participants also mentioned the types of activities they could do to stay "right in the mind." Particular attention must be focused on development of programs that provide satisfying culturally appropriate activities for older participants and the delivery of health messages that take into consideration culture and language.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2009 · The Gerontologist
  • Source
    • "The themes stressed by focus group participants in this case study contrast with the themes and subthemes identifi ed by two English-speaking Hispanic focus groups on the same topic (Laditka et al., 2009). This is not to say that language was the main difference; we expect differences in household income, education, neighborhood deprivation , and degree of assimilation to say the least. "

    Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Journal of Applied Communication Research
Show more