Narrated lived experiences of self-care and health among rural-living older persons with a strong sense of coherence
Ulrika Söderhamn, Bjørg Dale, Olle Söderhamn
Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Agder, Centre for Caring Research – Southern Norway, Grimstad, Norway
Abstract: Sense of coherence (SOC), with its components comprehensibility, manageability, and meaningfulness, is a major factor in the ability to cope successfully with stressors and is closely related to health. Qualitative studies related to SOC are scarce, and in this phenomenological interview study, self-care is investigated in relation to SOC. The aim of this study was to describe the lived experiences of self-care and features that may influence health and self-care among older home-dwelling individuals living in rural areas and who have a strong SOC. Eleven persons with a mean age of 73.5 years and a SOC value in the range of 153–188, measured by Antonovsky’s 29-item SOC scale, were interviewed. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed with a phenomenological descriptive method. The findings showed that successful self-care involves having, when needed, contact with the health care system, being conscious of a sound lifestyle, being physically and mentally active, being engaged, having social contacts with family and/or others, and being satisfied and positive and looking forward. Formal and informal caregivers should be conscious of the importance of motivating and supporting older individuals with respect to these dimensions of self-care.
Keywords: aged, activity, contacts, phenomenology, well-being
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