Older adults’ suggestions to engage other older adults in health and healthcare: A qualitative study conducted in western Canada

Huey Ming Tzeng, Udoka Okpalauwaekwe, Chang Yi Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aim: This qualitative study reports identified themes from suggestions made by 533 Canadian older adults, aged $65 years in response to the open-ended question contained in a Saskatchewan Telephone Survey: “What suggestions can you make to engage someone in their health and healthcare?”. Background: In 2016, seniors accounted for 16.9% of the Canadian population. As Canadians age over the next 30 years, emergency room visits are predicted to increase by 40%, outpacing the expected 30% population growth. Avoiding this increase could save the nation about $210 million annually. A recent US study reported that the ability of seniors to carry out self-care actions predicted lower likelihood of emergency department use within 3 months. Materials and methods: We conducted a secondary data analysis based on a province-wide, cross-sectional Saskatchewan (Canada) Telephone Survey of seniors’ self-care needs conducted in March–June 2018 (N=1,000). Results were analyzed using qualitative thematic content analysis. Data were charted and coded separately by two researchers; coding conflicts were resolved by consensus. Results: A total of 533 seniors answered the open-ended question. Content analysis resulted in 11 contextual content areas with 956 total suggestions. Five key themes emerged, which included the following: feasible healthcare access, being proactive toward healthy living, having social support systems, being more open to alternative medicine, and other self-care options, and having more trained healthcare professionals to care for seniors. Conclusion: This study reveals facilitators and challenges that currently face seniors. Seniors want equitable access to professional healthcare services and an environment that fosters self-care actions in everyday living. There is a gap in supports that would assist seniors to engage in their health and healthcare. Additional research on this issue could further inform health and human service providers to develop patient-centered strategies for promoting self-care among seniors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Active living
  • Alternative medicine
  • Canadian healthcare system
  • Care navigation
  • Health care professional training
  • Healthcare access
  • Healthy living
  • Patient empowerment
  • Self-management
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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