The rhythm of health in older women with chronic illness

Nelma B.Crawford Shearer, D. Fleury Julie, Pamela G. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Trends in population growth indicate that nurses increasingly will be caring for older adults, especially older women, who are at risk for less than optimal health due to chronic illnesses. The purpose of this qualitative study was to obtain a better understanding of the meaning of health from the perspective of older women. Focus group interviews with 51 women, aged 55 to 93, were held. Data were analyzed using directed qualitative content analysis. A Rogerian perspective of human health provided the broad conceptual lens for the study. Three themes explicating the meanings of health emerged from the data: realizing the potential for purpose, listening to energy flow, and purposefully participating in health-related changes. The three themes represented ways in which the women dealt with the paradoxes posed by their chronic illness. Findings captured the hopeful, although sometimes conflicting, meanings of health among the women as brought forth by experiences with chronic illness and the challenges of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-160
Number of pages13
JournalResearch and Theory for Nursing Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Meaning of health
  • Older women
  • Qualitative
  • Rogerian conceptual lens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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