266318 Independent Living and Social Support among Chronically-Ill Puerto Rican Elderly

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Luis E. Zayas, PhD , School of Social Work, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Angela Wisniewski, PharmD , Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY
Teri Kennedy, PhD , School of Social Work, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Purpose: Geriatric patients face self-care and chronic illness management challenges. For Latinos responsive to values of familismo, close relatives are expected to be primary caregivers of the elderly. This study examines social support of Puerto Rican older adults with chronic illness. Method: A concurrent, mixed-methods approach (qualitative and quantitative) was employed with a consecutive sample of geriatric Puerto Rican patients with chronic illness attending an inner-city primary care clinic. Of 49 participants who completed the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) assessment, the 40 who needed help with any IADL were probed with open-ended questioning to identify how they addressed IADL needs. Standardized questionnaires captured demographics, socio-economic status, and quality of life. Results: Mean age was 76 (5.3) years; 72% had annual household income of ≤ $15,000 and all had health care insurance (primarily Medicaid, Medicare). Eighty-percent communicated in English "some, but not well" or "not at all"; 61% managed their chronic illness(es) "well" or "very well" although 45% stated that health problems limited their quality of life "fairly" or "a lot." Primary caregivers were spouses (29%) and children (47%). Qualitative findings corroborated and elaborated on quantitative IADL findings, providing context that IADL needs are being met. Conclusions and Implications: In this sample of poor, chronically-ill, Puerto Rican elderly, quantitative and qualitative findings indicated family members most often helped in meeting IADL needs. Frail Latino elders and their family caregivers would benefit from culturally-grounded and linguistically-accessible care coordination to access and navigate available in-home and community-based support services.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
To assess the social support of Puerto Rican older adults with chronic illness living in a poor urban community.

Keywords: Elderly, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator in this study and developed the study design, recruited participants, collected and analyzed the data, and am leading author of the study report.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.