Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

International Health and Aging: Observation and Analysis of Elderly Care in Migori Kenya

Institution

Western Kentucky University

Abstract

While generally respected in Kenya, Elders are not primary recipients of health care services in later life. This research documented the need for geriatric specific care and the availability of resources for seniors in Migori, Kenya. Lastly, a set of 5 recommendations was developed to guide the delivery of health services provided to older residents in this small village of 6000. After a literature review and analysis of existing demographic data, a needs assessment instrument was developed to guide gathering of relevant data from Migori. Using a research protocol approved through the WKU IRB Committee, the Primary Investigator interviewed 25 elders and 3 key informants in August 2013 in Migori Kenya. She performed referencing vital statistics checks (weight, blood pressure and nutritional assessment) and in depth interviews with the assistance of a translator. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the vital and nutrition profiles and narrative analysis was used to determine primary and secondary themes in respondent’s health lives. Because of the high prevalence of HIV Aids, many elders have lost their own children and are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. Older Kenyan’s are chronically underweight, malnourished and at risk for many chronic diseases. This group of elders was no exception to norms. Issues of food availability and the constant caregiving strain meant that many elders face stark choices: feed their grandchildren or themselves. Personal health concerns were secondary and interviewees reported widespread discouragement from using what little formal health services existed.

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International Health and Aging: Observation and Analysis of Elderly Care in Migori Kenya

While generally respected in Kenya, Elders are not primary recipients of health care services in later life. This research documented the need for geriatric specific care and the availability of resources for seniors in Migori, Kenya. Lastly, a set of 5 recommendations was developed to guide the delivery of health services provided to older residents in this small village of 6000. After a literature review and analysis of existing demographic data, a needs assessment instrument was developed to guide gathering of relevant data from Migori. Using a research protocol approved through the WKU IRB Committee, the Primary Investigator interviewed 25 elders and 3 key informants in August 2013 in Migori Kenya. She performed referencing vital statistics checks (weight, blood pressure and nutritional assessment) and in depth interviews with the assistance of a translator. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the vital and nutrition profiles and narrative analysis was used to determine primary and secondary themes in respondent’s health lives. Because of the high prevalence of HIV Aids, many elders have lost their own children and are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. Older Kenyan’s are chronically underweight, malnourished and at risk for many chronic diseases. This group of elders was no exception to norms. Issues of food availability and the constant caregiving strain meant that many elders face stark choices: feed their grandchildren or themselves. Personal health concerns were secondary and interviewees reported widespread discouragement from using what little formal health services existed.