Exactly how the elderly cope with chronic illness, and how they develop their own self care strategies in response to those illnesses, is extremely significant: the impact of the disease can be attenuated by proper self care. In the lives of most elderly people, self-care not only can foster the individual to develop his or her potential under the limitations of disease, it can be helpful in keeping independence and initiative, enhancing the sense of control over health, and reaching the best state of physiological, psychological, and social well being (Connelly 1987). Given the significance of the area, one research question is particularly important: What are the experiences of self care in the chronically ill elderly
The primary objective of this paper is to discuss the life experiences of self-care in this class of individual. First, I will provide a contextual background by defining self care and chronic disease, explaining the general significance of the issue, and then relating those concepts to the elderly living in Taiwan. Secondly, I will provide an evaluation of why the phenomenological research approach is the most appropriate qualitative research method, and offer a critique of the results of other studies on the subject. Finally, I will describe the steps that could be taken to conduct a qualitative study and propose why these steps are appropriate in answering the research question.
Self Care. The concept of self care developments has been an area of concern in various academic departments such as medicine, nursing, psychology, sociology, and health education (Gantz, 1990). Each academic discipline has focused upon different aspects of self-care from its own perspective of what is important or significant. The following are viewpoints from medical, health education, and nursing perspectives are more directly related to nursing care, and further introduce the concept of self-care.
In the field of medicine, Levin (1976) demonstrates it has long been believed that self-care is a process which operates in favor of one's health. Self care promotes health while it prevents, discovers, and treats diseases. It is considered a vital part of preliminary care in the nursing system. Vickery (1986) believes that self-care is constructive behavior and an individual's way to pay attention to medical issues. In other words, self care is a behavioral expression that focuses on medical problems or physical symptoms; and it also displaces nursing care obligations. Behavioural changes of patients are, for the most part, concentrated on following medical advice (Gantz, 1990).
Health education coordinates individuals' regulative and corrective behaviors by making use of the education process and behavior-change strategies (Parcel, Bartlett, and Bruhn, 1986). For example, under applied stress or self-adjusting skills and self-handling behavior, correction skills help change living modes (Gantz, 1990), promote