Perception of Healthy Aging Among Elderly with Chronic Disease in Taiwan: A Qualitative Study

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Yu-Rung Wang, MSN, RN
Chi Mei Medical Center, Department of Nursing; Institute of Allied Health Science, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan
Ching-Min Chen, DNS
Department of Nursing/ Institute of Gerontology, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan


The aging population in Taiwan is gradually increasing. The elderly population reached 11.2% in 2012, and it is estimated that by 2060, the percentage will reach 39.4%. There are up to 88% of Taiwan's elderly reporting with at least one kind of chronic diseases. How to enhance the belief of healthy ageing for elderly with chronic conditions has become an important concern for the elders, policymakers and researchers worldwide. Taiwan's government has adopted and implemented healthy aging policy since 2008. The policy includes improved integration in the economic security and social participation, better lifestyles, adapting health systems to the needs of the elderly, attacking underlying social and environmental factors affecting healthy ageing. However, very little research evidence is given for the perspectives on healthy aging among the elderly with chronic disease after the policy implementation. This study investigated the living experience of health aging from the perspectives of the elderly with chronic disease, including physical, psychological and social aging experience of life.


Qualitative approach was conducted. Participants were recruited from outpatient department of a medical center in southern Taiwan. Subjects were chronic disease patients 65 years old and above with clear conscious, being able to communicate in Mandarin or Taiwanese. Ten in-depth interviews were conducted through purposeful sampling. Following these interviews, verbatim transcription of the recorded data was used for content analysis. Lincoln and Guba's trustworthiness criteria was applied to evaluate rigor of this study. Participants were asked to share their living experience regarding aging process and aging perspectives, definition of healthy aging, as well as factors that influence healthy aging.


Pilot analysis of two verbatim transcriptions indicated that healthy aging can be viewed from physical, psychological and social contexts. Elderly adapt their aging process from referential and clinical situations. Recommendations for approaching healthy aging were collected. Further eight transcriptions will be analyzed using content analysis in the near future.


From this pilot result, exploration of life experience of the elderly with chronic disease is made possible for better understanding of their health aging perspectives and aging process, which can serve as a reference for planning of community health promotion activities and related health policy making and promotion.