Dr. Juanita Bacsu is a recent PhD graduate from the department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Her PhD work focused on cognitive health perceptions among older adults in rural Saskatchewan. She is a board member of the Canadian Rural Health Research Society (CRHRS). Her research interests include dementia, health beliefs and practices, rural aging, and health policy.
Supportive Interventions of Cognitive Health: Rural Seniors’ Perspectives
As the population ages, there is an increasing need for knowledge on preventative interventions to support and sustain cognitive health among older adults. This presentation has two objectives: 1) to explore rural seniors’ perceptions of cognitive health; and 2) to examine rural seniors’ perspectives of interventions to support cognitive health.
Using a community-based participatory research approach and ethnographic methodology, data were collected through participant observation and two waves of semi-structured interviews with 42 seniors in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. Guided by lay theory and cultural schema theory, data were compiled and coded using thematic analysis.
Seniors discussed cognitive health interventions related to four key areas including social health, functional health, intellectual health, and emotional health. In particular, rural seniors described the benefits of social interaction, participation in day-to-day activities, intellectual stimulation, and supports to facilitate their emotional wellbeing such as gardening and spending time in nature.
The lack of knowledge on rural seniors’ perceptions of cognitive health has an important influence on the interventions designed to support rural aging. This study’s findings suggest that it is important to move beyond biomedical interventions to interventions informed by lived-experience and a social determinants approach.