Title

Engaging with the past and hoping for the future as valued occupations in advanced age

Location

Room B

Start Time

18-10-2013 1:30 PM

End Time

18-10-2013 2:00 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Background & Rationale: Internationally, numerous cohort and cross sectional studies have demonstrated a relationship between older people’s activity participation, happiness and survival. Studies predominantly examine seniors’ engagement in physical, social, productive or leisure occupations (Menec, 2003; Nilsson, Lofgren, Fisher & Bernspang, 2006; Strain & Grabusic, Strain, Grabusic, Searle & Dunn, 2002). Yet there is a gap in understanding how occupational engagement in the mundane, ordinary occupations and everyday ways of living (Wilcock, 2005; Hasselkus, 2006) may contribute to ageing well.

Purpose: This project explored older New Zealand Māori and non-Māori views and values on living in advanced age and their hopes for the future.

Methods: Data were gathered as part of a multidisciplinary feasibility for cohort study on Life and Living in Advanced Age (LiLACS) undertaken in three urban and rural regions of New Zealand. Ethics approval was granted by the New Zealand Multi-Region Ethics Committee and participants gave written informed consent before being enrolled in the study. Data were collected from 33 Māori participants, aged 75-79, and 79 non-Māori participants, aged 85. As part of the larger feasibility for cohort study, the data for this project were drawn from the final section of a comprehensive interview based questionnaire. Participants were given a sheet with two closed questions using a 5-point Likert-scale and five open questions on the topic of “living well in advanced age,” and invited to write their responses. Response sheets were collected by the researchers at the next visit. Ordinal data were analysed in SPSS by comparing frequencies and associations using Fisher’s exact test where appropriate. Narrative responses were analysed using interpretive descriptive methodology informed by hermeneutics.

Results: Ordinal data results showed that almost all participants strongly agreed there was a lot they could do to keep healthy in their old age (question 1), while fewer than 30% experienced growing older as mainly positive (question 2). A statistically significant difference was found (Fishers exact test, p = .001) between participants who answered question 1 positively, while answering question 2 negatively. This seeming discrepancy may be a consequence of participants having experienced various occupational transitions and losses in their advanced age. Findings from the written narrative data showed that both the older Māori and non-Māori engaged in occupations of reflecting on the past, taking care of their health and those around them in everyday life, and hoping for a good future for the world, its resources, people, and future generations. Being part of a collective community and holding political aspirations for the successful future for their grandchildren and their peoples were dominant in the Māori responses.

Contribution to occupational science: Doing things like reflecting on learnings from the past, spending time thinking about life, and hoping for a future that will benefit families, communities and wider society may be ordinary, everyday occupations that contribute to living well in advanced age. Further research on this topic will contribute to the occupational science evidence base.

Key words: Ordinary occupations, ageing well, thinking about life

References

Hasselkus, B. R. (2006). The world of everyday occupation: Real people, real lives. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 60(6), 627–640.

Menec, V. H. (2003). The relation between everyday activities and successful aging: A 6-year longitudinal study. The Journals of Gerontology, 58B(2), S74-S82.

Nilsson, I., Lofgren, B., Fisher, A. G., & Bernspang, B. (2006). Focus on leisure repertoire in the oldest old: The Umea 85+ study. The Journal of Applied Gerontology, 25(5), 391-405.

Strain, L. A., Grabusic, C., Searle, M. S., & Dunn, N. J. (2002). Continuing and ceasing leisure activities in later life: A longitudinal study. The Gerontologist, 42(2), 217-223.

Wilcock, A. (2005). Occupational science: Bridging occupation and health. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(1), 5–12.

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Oct 18th, 1:30 PM Oct 18th, 2:00 PM

Engaging with the past and hoping for the future as valued occupations in advanced age

Room B

Background & Rationale: Internationally, numerous cohort and cross sectional studies have demonstrated a relationship between older people’s activity participation, happiness and survival. Studies predominantly examine seniors’ engagement in physical, social, productive or leisure occupations (Menec, 2003; Nilsson, Lofgren, Fisher & Bernspang, 2006; Strain & Grabusic, Strain, Grabusic, Searle & Dunn, 2002). Yet there is a gap in understanding how occupational engagement in the mundane, ordinary occupations and everyday ways of living (Wilcock, 2005; Hasselkus, 2006) may contribute to ageing well.

Purpose: This project explored older New Zealand Māori and non-Māori views and values on living in advanced age and their hopes for the future.

Methods: Data were gathered as part of a multidisciplinary feasibility for cohort study on Life and Living in Advanced Age (LiLACS) undertaken in three urban and rural regions of New Zealand. Ethics approval was granted by the New Zealand Multi-Region Ethics Committee and participants gave written informed consent before being enrolled in the study. Data were collected from 33 Māori participants, aged 75-79, and 79 non-Māori participants, aged 85. As part of the larger feasibility for cohort study, the data for this project were drawn from the final section of a comprehensive interview based questionnaire. Participants were given a sheet with two closed questions using a 5-point Likert-scale and five open questions on the topic of “living well in advanced age,” and invited to write their responses. Response sheets were collected by the researchers at the next visit. Ordinal data were analysed in SPSS by comparing frequencies and associations using Fisher’s exact test where appropriate. Narrative responses were analysed using interpretive descriptive methodology informed by hermeneutics.

Results: Ordinal data results showed that almost all participants strongly agreed there was a lot they could do to keep healthy in their old age (question 1), while fewer than 30% experienced growing older as mainly positive (question 2). A statistically significant difference was found (Fishers exact test, p = .001) between participants who answered question 1 positively, while answering question 2 negatively. This seeming discrepancy may be a consequence of participants having experienced various occupational transitions and losses in their advanced age. Findings from the written narrative data showed that both the older Māori and non-Māori engaged in occupations of reflecting on the past, taking care of their health and those around them in everyday life, and hoping for a good future for the world, its resources, people, and future generations. Being part of a collective community and holding political aspirations for the successful future for their grandchildren and their peoples were dominant in the Māori responses.

Contribution to occupational science: Doing things like reflecting on learnings from the past, spending time thinking about life, and hoping for a future that will benefit families, communities and wider society may be ordinary, everyday occupations that contribute to living well in advanced age. Further research on this topic will contribute to the occupational science evidence base.

Key words: Ordinary occupations, ageing well, thinking about life