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The personal active aging strategies of older adults in Europe: a systematic review of qualitative evidence

Klugar, Miloslav; Čáp, Juraj; Klugarová, Jitka; Marečková, Jana; Roberson, Donald N.; Kelnarová, Zuzana

JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports: May 2016 - Volume 14 - Issue 5 - p 193–257
doi: 10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-002393
Systematic Reviews

Background: There is a consensus that the aging population is beginning to impact on many facets of our life. They have more medical problems and the potential to “drain” the focus of the medical community, as well as national budgets with their accompanying medical bills. Personal strategies related to active aging will help us to better understand and identify how older adults in Europe prepare themselves for the natural process of aging and what are their personal approaches to active aging.

Objectives: The objective of this review was to synthesize the best available evidence regarding the older adult's perspective on the personal strategies related to active aging among older adults in Europe.

Inclusion criteria Types of participants: This review considered studies that included older adults (age over 55 years) who live in Europe.

Phenomena of interest: This review considered studies that investigated older adults’ perspectives on (any) personal strategies related to active aging.

Context: Europe (considering “some similarity” in health care systems and retirement policies).

Types of studies: This review considered any qualitative designs.

Search strategy: A three-step search strategy was used to identify published and unpublished studies. The extensive search process was conducted in October 2014 and considered published and unpublished studies from the inception of databases until October 2014. Studies published in any language which had an abstract in English, Czech and Slovak languages were considered for inclusion in this review.

Methodological quality: Studies were appraised for methodological quality by two independent reviewers using the Joanna Briggs Institute Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-QARI).

Data extraction: Data were extracted from the papers included in the review by two independent reviewers using the standardized JBI-QARI data extraction tool.

Data synthesis: Data synthesis was performed using the meta-aggregation approach of meta-synthesis recommended by the Joanna Briggs Institute.

Results: Fourteen studies were included in this systematic review. From these 14 studies, 42 findings were extracted; findings were synthesized into four categories: (1) positive approach to life, (2) mental, social and physical activities, (3) adaptation, and (4) financial independence. Categories were synthesized into two synthesized findings: (1) if older adults adapt to changing situations and choose a positive attitude, they can find an active way to live and also a mission and meaning in their lives, (2) if older adults learn new activities, participate in exercise, keep balanced relationships and manage their financial resources, they will stay mentally, socially and physically active, and also financially responsible.

Conclusions: If older Europeans learn new activities, participate in exercise, keep balanced relationships and manage their financial resources, they will stay mentally, socially and physically active, and also financially responsible.

Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Department of Social Medicine and Public Health, The Czech Republic (Middle European) Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care: an Affiliate Centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic

Correspondence: Jitka Klugarova, jitka.klugarova@upol.cz

There is no conflict of interest in this project.

© 2016 by Lippincott williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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