OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this paper is to present the methodological procedures of a community-based study designed to examine correlates of successful aging.
METHODS: There were identified 1.166 participants with a door-to-door methodology, in areas with a high concentration of older adults from Juiz de Fora, Brazil. After identifying a residence with at least one older adult (n = 1.686 among 7.089 residences), we presented the study, the participant signed the consent form, and we scheduled a home interview.
RESULTS: The age alternated (n = 956) from 60 to 103 (M = 72.3 ± 8.21), 72% were female; 19% earned < 1 to 2 minimum wages and 28% earned more than eight minimum wages; the mean years of school attendance was 6.5 ± 4.5. Women and the oldest had school level, ocupation and salary lower than men and the youngest olds did. Women had more comorbidities. Hypertension prevalence was 51%; 49,68% had one to three illnesses and 40.48% had four or more; 62,3% used more than 2 medications; 80.4% had high scores in self-related health, and 87.4% had high scores in perceived social support. There were significant gender differences for health variables in the expected direction, while such differences were not consistently significant across age groups.
CONCLUSION: The methodology was useful to identify older adults in a short period of time. Future studies should follow this cohort overtime. The study had a bias toward a healthier and more educated group; nonetheless, the results are consistent with other community-based national studies with older populations.
Keywords: Successful aging, physical health, social support, aged people.
OBJECTIVE: Investigating relationships among age, gender, educational level, and meanings of successful aging, perceived health and perceived social support according community-dwelling elderly.
PARTICIPANTS: Data were gathered from the data set of a survey about conditions of successful aging (n = 716; 70,2% women; mean age 72 ± 8,6). They answered two open questions about the meaning of successful aging, five scales about perceived social support, one scale about perceived health, and a socio-demographic questionnaire.
RESULTS: The themes derived from content analysis were: health and functional independence, psychological adjustment, positive social relationships, active engagement with life, orientation to the well-being of others, owning of material resources and belief on the impossibility of successful aging. Those aged 60 to 69 pointed more frequently to active engagement with life than those aged 80 did; those with less of eight years of education pointed more to health and functional independence than the most educated did. There were no differences due to gender concerning the meanings, with exception of psychological adjustment, where women scored higher than men. Positive social relationships were more frequent among participants with low and moderate scores in perceived social support. Mentions to psychological adjustment, spirituality and religion were more frequent among the participants with the highest scores of perceived health
CONCLUSIONS: Successful aging is a multidimensional construct which interacts with personal assessments about health and social support. Particular features of the sample may have affected the relative homogeneity observed in the results.
Keywords: Successful aging, health-self-rated, social support-self-rated, older adults, content analysis.
OBJECTIVE: There was carried out a survey aimed at investigating the religious beliefs, the level of importance and the meanings related to religiosity according community-dwelling elderly aged 65 to 103.
METHODS: Data were gathered from the data set of a survey about conditions of successful aging developed in a middle sized Brazilian town (n = 956). Among these, 361 (71% women, mean age = 71,6, DP = 8.3) answered questions about their religious beliefs, as well as about the level of importance and the meanings they associated to religiosity. The main themes derived from content analysis were submitted to statistical analysis comparing them to the other variables.
RESULTS: The majority were Roman Catholic and attributed high value to religiosity in their life. The main themes associated to religiosity were: source of existential meaning, expression of cultural tradition, moral ruler, and coping strategy. There were not observed statistically significant differences due to gender and age, with exception of religion as coping strategy, more frequent among women, and religion as expression of cultural tradition, where the catholic scored higher. The main associations showed by correspondence analysis were: being Roman Catholic, women, aged 70 and more, strong beliefs toward religiosity as source of meaning or expression of cultural tradition and low frequency of beliefs on religiosity as source of transcendence; being non-religious, being men, being aged less than 70, emphasis on religiosity as moral ruler and as source of personal growth; being spiritualist and strong beliefs on religiosity as a quest for the transcendent.
Keywords: Old people, religiosity, existential meaning, religious coping, content analysis.
OBJECTIVE: Investigating relationships among stressful life events in the last year, personal evaluations of social support, social class and social mobility, and depressive symptoms assessed by the CES-D.
PARTICIPANTS: 903 community dwelling-elderly (Mean age = 72.3 ± 8.21), from a investigation on successful aging.
RESULTS: The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 33,8%, mostly related to poor social support, four to 16 stressful life events, being 60 to 69, women, from the lower middle class and having descendent social mobility. Absence of depression was related to satisfactory social support, one to three stressful life events, being men, being aged 70 to 79 or 80 and more, pertaining to the middle class, with social stability from adulthood to old age. Multivariate analysis of regression showed that high number of stressful life events (OR = 2,55) and low quality of social support (OR = 2,31) were the main significant predictors of depressive symptoms.
Keywords: Aged people, depression, CES-D, social support, social mobility.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to describe the experience of stressful life events related to death of significant others, in terms of frequency, intensity, long-term effects, coping and self efficacy of coping, according self-reports of community-dwelling elderly.
METHODS: 570 participants were interviewed between 2002 and 2003 (M = 73.04, SD = 8.44), 74% women.
RESULTS: The participants reported mostly death of close friends or relatives, health problems and death of spouse, as the main stressful events they had lived along the last year. The level of stress was high (M = 6.10, SD = 1.34). Almost a half of the participants evaluated the events as loss or pain. The majority reported positive self-efficacy concerning coping strategies toward the stressful events, interpreted the events as something to be accepted, without long-term effects, and as an opportunity to learn about the importance of family, religion and spirituality.
CONCLUSION: Adaptive ways of coping can help aged people to preserve psychological and emotional integrity, even in presence of feelings of loss and pain derived from the experience of stressful life events associated with death of significant others.
Keywords: Stressful life events, coping, self-efficacy, death, health, aging.
OBJECTIVE: Investigating relationships among stressful life events associated with caregiving, depressive symptoms, and sleeping disorders among men and women aged 65 and more.
METHODS: There were 898 participants from the first wave of measures of a community study on successful aging. Participants were aged 60 to 69 (40,6%), 70 to 79 years (40%) and 80 years or more (19,4%); 50% were married and 90,3% have had children. 81,9% had 8 to 11 years of school attendance; more than a half of the sample family monthly income varied between three and eight unities of salary; 50% of the participants lived with two or more relatives. 646 were women (71,9%). Instruments included a questionnaire assessing socioeconomic characteristics, the Center for Epidemiologic Survey-Depression, the Elders Life Stress Inventory, and the Mini-Sleep Questionnaire, all them semantically validated to Brazilian elderly.
RESULTS: Prevalence of depressive symptoms, sleeping disorders and caregiving was 33%, 37,5% and 35,5%, respectively. Women scored higher on depression, sleeping disorders and stressful experiences associated to caregiving than men did. Those that reported have lived a worsening of the health of a close relative showed significantly higher scores in the CES-D. Depression, caregiving, and being women appeared as independent risk factors to sleeping disorders, but in the multivariate analysis, the effects of caregiving covaried with patterns of sleeping and aging.
CONCLUSION: New studies must clarify the independent role of caregiving stress, depression, gender and aging on sleeping disorders.
Keywords: Aged people, depressive symptoms, sleeping disorders, caregiving stress.