Living with change: elderly women's perceptions of having a myocardial infarction

Qual Health Res. 2000 Sep;10(5):661-76. doi: 10.1177/104973200129118714.


The purpose of the study described in this article was to explore and describe elderly (70+ years) women's perceptions of having a myocardial infarction (MI). Structured and unstructured, open-ended, face-to-face interviews with 11 women were used to collect qualitative data. The central theme that emerged was living with change. Five phases were revealed: searching for a diagnosis, being hit with the reality, discovering the nature of the change, adjusting to the change, and moving on with the change. Throughout these phases, the women were faced with the challenges of being in control, managing uncertainty, making sense, being independent, and sheltering others. The continuous process of change in their lives was taken for granted by these women. By having an understanding of the perspective of elderly women who have an MI, nurses will be more effective when caring for these individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Life Change Events*
  • Myocardial Infarction / psychology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / rehabilitation