Age-specific factors influencing asthma management by older adults

Qual Health Res. 2010 Jan;20(1):117-24. doi: 10.1177/1049732309355288. Epub 2009 Nov 25.


Although many asthma patients experience their first attack after age 40, the experiences and concerns of older adults with asthma remain largely unknown. We conducted six focus groups, each consisting of participants over the age of 65 with a physician diagnosis of asthma. Semistructured questions regarding asthma education, symptoms, and management were used. A total of 46 adults participated in the six focus groups. The mean age of the participants was 72.6 years, and 43.5% were African American. The majority of participants had coexisting cardiac disease or hypertension. Major age-specific domains identified in all focus groups were atypical asthma symptoms, inability to distinguish asthma from other medical conditions, use of complementary and alternative therapies, desire for independence in asthma management, and a lack of participation in asthma education. Participants acknowledged that they did not commonly address these issues with their physicians or with family members. Optimal care will require physicians and researchers to explicitly address these issues unique to the geriatric asthmatic population.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Focus Groups
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Medication Adherence
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Racial Groups
  • Self Care


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents