Monash University

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Perspectives and perceived influences on healthy ageing in older women in Saudi Arabia

posted on 2017-02-26, 23:25 authored by Altamimi, Tahani
This thesis examines healthy ageing conceptualizations and their perceived influences in older Saudi women living in Saudi Arabia. To date, no research has examined the question of how older people themselves understand the concept of healthy ageing in Saudi Arabia. The focus is on women because of cultural reasons and gender may influence concepts of healthy ageing and how ageing is experienced. Two pieces of research are reported in this thesis: a systematic review and a qualitative empirical study. The systematic review critically summarized evidence from studies that examined ageing experiences relevant to Arabic-Muslim cultures. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) flow diagram methodology was used and found few studies addressing ageing in the Saudi population, and fifteen articles investigating ageing among Arabic Muslim cultures. The review underscored the different sociodemographic associations of health status, family network, religion, and social activity with wellbeing in old age. In order to address the research gaps, a subjective understanding of the elements that affect healthy ageing concepts in older Saudi women must be considered. This thesis empirically examines older Saudi women’s perspectives of healthy ageing, and perceived influences on healthy ageing in Saudi Arabia. It aims to achieve its objective by seeking answers to the following research questions: How do older Saudi women experience ageing in everyday life? How do they understand the concepts of ageing? How do they view their ideal life in old age? How do they prepare for healthy ageing? What are the factors that are positively related to the healthy ageing? What are the barriers to healthy ageing? Qualitative in-depth interviews with seventeen Saudi women aged 60 years and over were done. Data collection concluded when the categories were saturated, then iterative/thematic analysis was done. The study showed that the standard household living arrangements across Saudi Arabia indicates co-habitation between older parents and children. Also, all the women in this study were dependent housewives, financially supported by their families. Almost half of the participants were illiterate. The study informants mainly rated their health status as good or better although they had multiple chronic diseases. Analysis of the data resulted in rich and interconnected themes, including: old age and respect, interpersonal relationships, religious faith and spirituality, health functioning, supportive environment, financial security, and the ageing process. Healthy ageing perspectives in older women in Saudi Arabia include multidimensional measures that are interconnected prominently with religion/spirituality and family connection. This research found the pathway to healthy ageing among the study population was similar to Western cultures; however, these western approaches were unable to explain cultural and religious differences. This study will be useful for Saudi governments as it has the potential to provide knowledge to develop targeted strategies to promote healthy ageing in Saudi Arabia. Consequently, it may have important implications for researchers, clinicians, and policymakers as they focus on improving quality of life for an ageing population in Saudi Arabia.


Principal supervisor

Colette Browning

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Department, School or Centre

Primary and Allied Health Care

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Primary Health Care

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences

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