Volume 34, Issue 131 (August 2021)                   IJN 2021, 34(131): 55-69 | Back to browse issues page

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Mohammadi F, Bastani F, Hosseini R. Successful Aging Focused on the Dimensions of Perceived Social Support and Mental Vitality in the Elderly Referred to the Health Centers of Iran University of Medical Sciences (2020). IJN 2021; 34 (131) :55-69
URL: http://ijn.iums.ac.ir/article-1-3470-en.html
1- Master of Geriatric Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2- Department of Community Health Nursing and Geriatric Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (Corresponding author) Tel: 09821-43651820 Email: bastani.f@iums.ac.ir
3- Department of Community Health Nursing and Geriatric Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (2348 Views)
Background & Aims: Successful aging is a positive inner feeling and satisfaction from the past and present life. The subjective meaning of successful aging focuses on the inner dimensions of the aging experience such as happiness, self-fulfillment, emotions, perceived social support, satisfaction, and vitality in life. Perceived or subjective social support refers to individual's cognitive evaluation of their relationships, and studying and evaluating perceived social support is closely related to self-assessment of health, and paying attention to its understanding is of utmost importance in health care. One of the variables that effect successful aging, and improves health and quality of life of the elderly, is mental vitality which is somehow tied to the concept of psychological well-being and this concept refers to being positive, full of energy and cheerful. In other words, there is a very close relationship between mental vitality and happiness and social interactions. All of these states are positive and favorable concepts and are therefore associated with positive emotions and mood, which are very important in old age. Today, with the increase in the number of the elderly and the prolongation of life and life expectancy, efforts are being made to identify the components and factors associated with successful aging that guarantee a better quality of life, to provide an accurate sociological picture for proper health planning for the elderly. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine successful aging in the dimensions of perceived social support and mental vitality in the elderly referred to the health centers of Iran University of Medical Sciences in 2020.
Materials & Methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study. The research samples included 245 elderly people referring to the health centers of Iran University of Medical Sciences (in Tehran) in 2020 who were selected by continuous sampling method and entered the study after obtaining informed written consent. Data collection tools included Abbreviated Mental Test form (AMT), elderly demographic characteristics form, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support developed by Zimmet, and Mental Vitality questionnaire developed by Ryan & Frederick. The questionnaires were completed in person and by interview (conducted by the researcher) during three months. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (frequency distribution tables and numerical indices) and inferential statistics (independent t-test, variance, Pearson correlation coefficient, and regression) in SPSS 16 at the significance level of p ≤0.05.
Results: The results of the present study showed that the mean age of the elderly was 68.18 ± 6.25 years. In total, (55.5%) of the subjects were women. Most of them were literate with undergraduate and postgraduate education and about (76.5%) were married and over (80%) had social security insurance. More than half of the surveyed elderly (53.4%) considered their current health status better than their peers and (96.8%) stated that they were able to perform their daily tasks and activities independently without the help and supervision of others. (66.8%) of the elderly surveyed considered religion to play a significant role in reducing stress and 51.4% stated that they were very satisfied with their lives. Perceived social support was at a high level for (65.6%) of the studied units. This component was the highest in the family dimension with an average of 22.76 and the lowest in the friends dimension with an average of 16.24 among the dimensions of perceived social support. Also, education at the diploma level with a standard coefficient of -0.261 had the greatest effect on perceived social support. Regarding the mental vitality variable, 76.1% of the studied units were at the average level. The results showed that satisfaction with the insurance situation in terms of coverage of medical expenses with a standard coefficient of 0.232 and poor economic status with a standard coefficient of -0.235 had the highest direct and inverse effect on mental vitality.
Conclusion: Perceived social support and high mental vitality in the elderly can pave the way for achieving a successful aging phenomenon. This concept includes the recognition of various components of successful aging such as perceived social support and mental vitality, longevity, independence in life, and other factors in health and social planning. According to the results, more than half of the studied elderly had high perceived social support, which can be considered as a positive factor affecting successful aging, because perceived social support decreased with age of the participants in this study. Also, perceived social support in the family dimension with the highest average among its dimensions showed the impact and importance of family relationships in successful aging. However, most of the elderly participated in this study were "young seniors" who were between 60 and 75 years old, and therefore it is possible that the high perceived social support in the samples be related to their young age, their independence, and their living with a spouse and family. Also, a significant percentage of the samples in this study had moderate and high mental vitality, which was influenced by their independence and satisfaction and benefiting from the insurance covering medical expenses. A better understanding of the two concepts of perceived social support and mental vitality can be the basis for successful aging-related interventions. It seems that the Holistic Care approach in modern nursing can empower the elderly with lower education and income and those who are single, unmarried, incapable, and independent in carrying out daily activities of life, and with an unfavorable understanding of their health status by performing health interventions, feeling of vitality and having perceived social support, and take an effective step towards achieving successful aging. One of the important goals of this study is to use its results to increase the quality of services and solve existing problems. The researcher hopes that the findings of this study can be useful in improving the goals of healthy, successful, and active aging in society in the following areas. Due to the descriptive cross-sectional nature of this study and the fact that in the studies conducted in the world, perceived support and mental vitality, two components of successful aging are influenced by several factors, it is suggested that future studies evaluate the longitudinal and trend of these two indicators in the elderly to get more accurate results from these two components.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: nursing
Received: 2021/05/12 | Accepted: 2021/08/14 | Published: 2021/08/14

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