Attitudes on Aging Well Among Older African Americans and Whites in South Carolina
Published Date:Sep 15 2009
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 6(4).
Pubmed Central ID:PMC2774627
Funding:1-U48-DP-000025/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
1-U48-DP-000033/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
1-U48-DP-000045/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
1-U48-DP-000048/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
1-U48-DP-000050/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
1-U48-DP-000051/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
1-U48-DP-000052/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
1-U48-DP-000054/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
1-U48-DP-000059/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
SIP 13-04/PHS HHS/United States
SIP 8-06/PHS HHS/United States
Cognitive impairment in older adults is a major cause of functional disability. Interest in protecting brain health is likely to grow as the US population ages and more people have experiences with cognitive decline. Recent scientific evidence suggests that physical activity, heart-healthy diets, and social involvement may help to maintain brain health. We investigated attitudes about aging well among older African Americans and whites to inform the development of interventions to promote cognitive health.
We used a purposive sample to conduct 5 focus groups with African Americans (n = 42) and 4 with whites (n = 41). Participants also completed a brief survey. In discussions centered on brain health, participants were asked to describe someone they know who is aging well. We used a grounded theory approach to guide the analysis and interpretation of the data.
Both African Americans and whites said that components of aging well include social activity, a strong spiritual life, not taking medications, and traveling. African Americans said aging well means being cognitively intact, free of serious mobility impairment or other health problems, and independent. Whites described aging well as living a long time, staying physically active, maintaining a positive outlook, and having good genes.
African Americans did not commonly associate physical activity with aging well, which suggests that tailored intervention strategies for promoting brain health should emphasize physical activity. African Americans and whites did not commonly associate nutrition with aging well, which also suggests a useful focus for public health interventions.
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