Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

The Attitudes of Older Adults Living in Institutions and Their Caregivers to Ageing

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

The Attitudes of Older Adults Living in Institutions and Their Caregivers to Ageing

Article excerpt

SUMMARY

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the attitudes of older people living in institutions and their caregivers to ageing. Recent outcomes showed prevailing negative social stereotype to ageing in CR.

Methods: The Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire (AAQ-24) was used in two waves of data collection to measure attitudes of 400 randomly selected residents of 19 Senior Residential Homes. The reduced sample of 220 seniors and 276 professional carers employed at twelve Senior Residential Homes completed 12 items of general form (AAQ-12). All respondents expressed their agreement or disagreement with the statements presented in the questionnaire regarding positive or negative attitudes to ageing.

Results: The AAQ total score proved significant influence of gender, having children, self-perceived health, depression, and quality of life. Subscale scores (psychosocial losses, physical changes, psychological growth) were significantly influenced by gender, age, activities limitations, having own children, depression, self-perceived health status, and quality of life. Globally, the attitudes of professional caregivers to ageing were more positive compared to the attitudes of older people living in institutions. Older adults showed higher agreement with negative statements about ageing. There was no difference between professional caregivers and older people in the positive attitudes to ageing expressed as the growth potential. Physical activity, wisdom, better ability to cope with life and contacting young generation were effective in the positive attitudes of both groups.

Key words: attitudes to ageing, three dimensions of ageing, older adults, senior residential homes, care staff, successful ageing, old-age paradox

INTRODUCTION

Factors influencing the attitudes of older adults to ageing are very diverse, ranging from the social climate in the ageing society, through the self-perceived health status and overall quality of life to the values and life orientation of the personality. This study set out to explore the influence of specific life conditions in institutions on the attitudes of older people living there. The attitudes to ageing of older people living in institutions are compared with the attitudes of staff working in these institutions.

Demographic Changes and Social Environment in the Czech Republic

In the last two decades, the life expectancy increased from 67.6 to 74.7 for males and from 72.9 to 80.7 for females in the Czech Republic (CR). In 2011, nearly 16% of population (1.7 M) were aged 65 years and over. Estimates suggest that this proportion will increase to 20% in 2020, and nearly to 32% in 2050 (1). Concerns about the costs of an increasing proportion of older adults in the population has already led to changes in the retirement system, and older adults feel endangered by demographic panic and age discrimination. Vidovicova (2) has demonstrated the presence of ageism, negative attitudes and prejudices against older adults in the Czech society. In the media, negative perceptions are much more common than positive ones, older persons are frequently associated with powerlessness and dependency. Deficiencies in health and social care can be also considered as indirect age discrimination, for example absence of adequate system of the long-term care or prevalence of maltreatment of older people within the system of care provision. Although there are political programmes to prevent social exclusion of older adults and to deal with principle problems connected with population ageing (3), many challenges arising from the demographic changes are still waiting for solutions.

The Situation and Health Status of Older People Living in Institutions in CR

In CR, older adults feel subjectively worse in terms of health status than in many other EU countries (Table 1).

Based on the European Health Interview Survey 2008 (4), 6% of Czech males and 14% of Czech females aged 65-74 years perceived their health as bad or very bad, at the age 75+ it was 29% and 35%, respectively. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.