Factors contributing to wellness of the aging population in Thunder Bay
Dunkley, Leonard E.
Master of Science
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this three year sequential study was to examine factors contributing to the wellness of 32 self-professed healthy seniors aged 65-74, 75-84, and 85 years of age and older, living in Thunder Bay based on their; patterns of physical activity; factors contributing to health and well-being; and lifestyle habits. In an attempt to better understand wellness over time, these respondents were visited each year from 1993 to 1995. Since the number of participants in the oldest group declined from 11 to three by the third year of the investigation, their responses are not included where they would violate rules of statistical inference. Walking and gardening were the most popular activities. Participants in the youngest age group were consistently active in the largest number of activities of the most vigorous nature over the three year period. The middle and oldest age groups reported a change by doing less vigorous physical activity over the three year study. However, further analysis indicated that the middle and oldest age groups engaged in compensatory behaviour. They replaced vigorous physical activity with less intense activity and practiced over a longer duration. Participants uniformly perceived themselves as more active than their peers during adolescence, and also In each year of the study. Each age group identified regular physical activity, diet, and rest as the most important factors contributing to health and well-being. Despite their positive perception of personal health status, all three age groups indicated functional difficulty with: standing, bending, and hearing. Participants also indicated that they were coping with chronic conditions such as: arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The seniors In this study shared similar lifestyles. Each age group acknowledged the importance of reaching specific goals such as: Independence, fitness, having fun, and relaxation. Each group reported doing various leisure activities such as reading, visiting with friends, and family. Even though the choices that the seniors made in the three age groups demonstrated some variability, their responses indicate positive aging, and give us an understanding of wellness. The behaviour of these seniors indicates that they exhibit the components of successful aging as illustrated by Rowe and Kahn (1998): low risk of disease, high mental and physical function, and active engagement with life.