Promoting health in older adults: a four-year analysis

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2001 Jan;13(1):23-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2001.tb00212.x.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to consider the influence of selected health promotion and disease prevention interventions in elderly residents of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) over a four-year period by comparing actual health promotion practices of the residents.

Data sources: Original research using a descriptive design, face-to-face interviews of residents (N = 176-200), chart reviews, and administration of a mini-mental state exam (MMSE) and health survey administered annually.

Conclusions: In each year the mean age of the residents was at least 85, the majority were female, Caucasian, and unmarried. With the exception of checking stools for occult blood, there was a statistically significant change in all health promotion behaviors over the four-year period. The most significant change was in the area of exercise behavior, which increased from 24% of the residents participating in regular exercise in year one to 61% by year four.

Implications for practice: The purpose of health promotion and disease prevention in older adults is to reduce the potential years of life lost in premature mortality and ensure better quality of remaining life. In addition to regularly scheduled interventions (group education, on-site administration of pneumonia and flu vaccines, on-site exercise room and walking group), individualized counseling regarding the pros and cons of health-promotion activities was provided to help residents make an educated decision about engaging in these activities. These interventions can be used to help facilitate participation in health promotion activities as appropriate and desired for each older adult.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Services for the Aged*
  • Health Status
  • Housing for the Elderly
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Preventive Medicine*