The number of older adults living in the United States is increasing rapidly. Over the past 10 years, the number of Americans age 65 and older has increased by approximately 30%, and due to factors ranging from increased life expectancy to the approximately 10,000 members of the boomer generation turning 65 every day), the total number of older adults is expected to grow from more than 48 million today to 98 million in 2060. A growing number of older Americans meet the criteria for mental health or substance use disorders. An estimated 10 to 14 million people will meet diagnostic criteria by 2030, resulting in what the Institute of Medicine describes as a “crisis” that is associated with “emotional distress, functional disability, reduced physical health, increased mortality, suicide, high rates of hospitalization and nursing home placement, and high costs”.The increase in the older adult population, along with its increasing within-group diversity, is likely to challenge assumptions held by health care professionals regarding the nature of growing older. Up to this point, medical conceptualizations of old age have dominated how the aging process is understood.
Wellness has been defined as “a holistic and multidimensional state of being that guides one to achieve one’s full potential”. The wellness paradigm incorporates numerous domains of personhood (e.g., social, spiritual, psychological, and physical), as well as stresses the importance of holistic integration of these domains. The aim of this study is to understand how demographic variables and depression symptoms relate to the prevalence of wellness, resilience, and age perception within a sample of community-dwelling older adults. Data were collected from adults ages 55 and older who live in independent living (IL) senior housing communities. Twelve communities were randomly selected from a database of eligible sampling sites. 200 out of 581 eligible individuals completed the survey and were included in the analyses.
The results of this study demonstrate that certain demographic categories are associated with differences in wellness, resilience, and age perception. As shown by the results, members of the 55 to 70 age-group had lower rates of wellness and resilience than those above 70 years of age. Similarly, individuals who reported having depression symptoms had lower rates of wellness and resilience, higher rates of negative perceptions of their aging, and lower scores on positive age perception.
Purpose: To understand how demographic variables and depression symptoms relate to the prevalence of wellness, resilience, and age perception within a sample of community-dwelling older adults. Design: In all, 200 residents across 12 senior housing sites were surveyed. Research questions included the following: (1) Do group differences exist in wellness, resilience, and age perception based on age, sex, race, education, and depression symptoms? (2) Which profile of variables is most strongly associated with self-rated depression among older adults? Method: Multivariate analyses of variance were used to examine group differences. A discriminant analysis demonstrated which variables comprised the profile of individuals who ascribed to depression symptoms. Findings: Younger respondents (i.e., age 55-70) had significantly lower levels of wellness (η2 = .034) and resilience (η2 = .052). Respondents suffering from depression symptoms had lower levels of wellness (η2 = .155), resilience (η2 = .163), and positive age perception (η2 = .067) and higher rates of negative age perception (η2 = .052). The discriminant analysis correctly categorized 75.3% of the cases related to depression symptoms, and resilience and certain forms of wellness were most relevant. Conclusions: The current study sheds light into within-group differences in wellness, resilience, and age perception that depend on variables such as age and depression.
Holistic Wellness in Older Adulthood: Group Differences Based on Age and MentalHealth
Matthew C. Fullen, PhD, LPCC, Darcy Haag Granello, PhD, LPCC
Published January 24, 2018.
Journal of Holistic Nursing