Back to Journals » Patient Preference and Adherence » Volume 13

Older adults’ suggestions to engage other older adults in health and healthcare: a qualitative study conducted in western Canada

Authors Tzeng HM, Okpalauwaekwe U, Yin CY

Received 6 November 2018

Accepted for publication 26 January 2019

Published 21 February 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 331—337


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Huey-Ming Tzeng,1 Udoka Okpalauwaekwe,2 Chang-Yi Yin3

1College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada; 2Department of Academic Family Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada; 3Taiwan History Research Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan

Aim: This qualitative study reports identified themes from suggestions made by 533 Canadian older adults, aged ≥65 years in response to the open-ended question contained in a Saskatchewan Telephone Survey: “What suggestions can you make to engage someone in their health and healthcare?”.
Background: In 2016, seniors accounted for 16.9% of the Canadian population. As Canadians age over the next 30 years, emergency room visits are predicted to increase by 40%, outpacing the expected 30% population growth. Avoiding this increase could save the nation about $210 million annually. A recent US study reported that the ability of seniors to carry out self-care actions predicted lower likelihood of emergency department use within 3 months.
Materials and methods: We conducted a secondary data analysis based on a province-wide, cross-sectional Saskatchewan (Canada) Telephone Survey of seniors’ self-care needs conducted in March–June 2018 (N=1,000). Results were analyzed using qualitative thematic content analysis. Data were charted and coded separately by two researchers; coding conflicts were resolved by consensus.
Results: A total of 533 seniors answered the open-ended question. Content analysis resulted in 11 contextual content areas with 956 total suggestions. Five key themes emerged, which included the following: feasible healthcare access, being proactive toward healthy living, having social support systems, being more open to alternative medicine, and other self-care options, and having more trained healthcare professionals to care for seniors.
Conclusion: This study reveals facilitators and challenges that currently face seniors. Seniors want equitable access to professional healthcare services and an environment that fosters self-care actions in everyday living. There is a gap in supports that would assist seniors to engage in their health and healthcare. Additional research on this issue could further inform health and human service providers to develop patient-centered strategies for promoting self-care among seniors.

Keywords: patient empowerment, self-management, Canadian healthcare system, healthcare access, healthy living, social support, alternative medicine, health care professional training, active living, care navigation

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]