Maintaining the balance: older adults with chronic health problems manage life in the community

Rehabil Nurs. 2010 Jan-Feb;35(1):16-22, 40. doi: 10.1002/j.2048-7940.2010.tb00026.x.


The purpose of this research was to identify themes in the daily lives of community-dwelling older adults with chronic health problems. Qualitative descriptive methods based on symbolic interaction were used. Data were generated through unstructured interviews, participant diaries, and researcher logs. Participants were interviewed twice and kept diaries in between. Measures to enhance trustworthiness included bracketing, multiple data sources, repeated interviews, prolonged engagement, an audit trail, participant checking, and consultation with an expert qualitative researcher. Ten older adults 75-98 years of age living in their own homes with at least one self-reported chronic health problem participated in the research. Participants' health problems varied, and they developed strategies to maintain balance in activity, attitude, autonomy, health, and relationships. This research provides a new perspective on living with chronic illness, and the model may provide a framework for rehabilitation nurses who work with older adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease / nursing
  • Chronic Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Self Care*
  • Social Support
  • United States