Toward healthy aging through empowering self-care during the climacteric stage
Background While they progress through the climacteric stage, women often develop physical and psychological health needs, calling for innovative health-care services that can be translated into preventive programs and empowerment towards self-care. Objective To identify the changes in women's discourse regarding their concerns and needs about the climacteric stage and self-care after they had participated in an integrative women-centered health-care model with empowerment for self-care. Methods Women's narratives during counseling group sessions were analyzed using qualitative inductive thematic analysis. Results A total of 121 women between 45 and 59 years of age participated. At the beginning of the counseling group sessions, we identified the following themes: (1) Lack of information about changes during the climacteric stage and self-care; (2) Tradition: the climacteric stage as a taboo subject; (3) Life's changes and transitions: the complexity of the climacteric experience; (4) Stigma of menopause; (5) Relationship between the traditional gender role and the lack of self-care. At the end of the counseling group sessions, the themes were: (1) The climacteric as a natural stage; (2) Expectations for old age; (3) Empowerment and the change of awareness for self-care; (3) De-medicalization of the climacteric; (4) The richness of group work; (5) Empowerment as motivation to convey acquired knowledge. Conclusion Women in the climacteric stage require more information about their physical, psychological and social needs, as well as the potential impact on their health during old age. Empowerment during the climacteric can contribute to improving the perception about this stage as well as the importance of self-care.
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