Self-care management and risk factors for depressive symptoms among Taiwanese institutionalized older persons

Yun-Fang Tsai
Nursing Research 2007, 56 (2): 124-31

BACKGROUND: Depression in the elderly has become a serious healthcare issue worldwide, but studies of self-care strategies and risk factors for depressive symptoms are limited.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the self-care strategies and risk factors for depressive symptoms among residents of public elder care homes in Taiwan.

METHODS: A cross-sectional design was used. Two of 18 public elder care homes were chosen by random sampling throughout Taiwan. Residents (N = 200) of these two care homes who were 65 years old or above and without severe cognitive deficit participated in this study.

RESULTS: Nearly half of the participants (49%) were identified by the Geriatric Depression Scale as depressed. Most participants (93%) used self-care strategies to manage their depressive symptoms. The most frequently used strategy was "take a walk." Self-learning was the main information source for self-care strategies. Logistic regression analysis indicated that cognitive function, perceived health status, and osteoarthritis were significant predictors of depression in this sample.

CONCLUSIONS: Because older persons tended to engage in activities and to interact with others to manage their depressive symptoms, healthcare providers in public elder care homes may consider arranging enough activities and people contacts for residents. Due to the limited number of healthcare providers in these homes, the author recommends increasing the knowledge of both providers and residents about depression and self-care management strategies.

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