The relationship between independence and health practices among noninstitutionalized elderly




Geyer, Elizabeth

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A descriptive, cross-sectional design was to determine the relationship of Alameda 5 health practices of not smoking, normalization of weight, exercise, moderate intake of alcohol, and sleeping 7-8 hours a night, demographic variables of age, race, education, and marital status, and the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP) to independence of older noninstitutionalized adults, measured by the Cumulative Impairment Score (CIS) of the Older Americans Resource and Service Multi-dimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire (OMFAQ). Ages of 90 men and women from five senior citizen centers varied from 61 to 95 (M = 74.3 years). Most subjects viewed their self-actualization, stress management, and interpersonal relationships positively. Using general linear regression analyses, the following variables were significantly (p .05) related to independence as measured by the CIS: overall health practices (HPLP) (p =.0002); health responsibility (p =.0003); exercise (p =.0001); additive effects of exercise, smoking, weight (p =.0269); and marital status (p =.0065).

Values of R\sp2 indicated variances between independence and other variables. A total of 16% of the variance was explained by overall health practices. Health responsibility explained a total of 14% of the variability. Exercise explained 26% of the variance and the combination of exercise, not smoking, and normal weight explained another 13% of the variance. A total of 12% of the variance was explained by marital status.

Further research is needed to continue to explain factors contributing to independence of elderly persons. Nursing interventions should include health promotion targeted toward physical activity as essential to the elderly. Nursing researchers should focus on designing and testing new instruments to assess variables that contribute to the elderly's independence.



Gerontology, Health, Older people