Changing Society Perceptions of Health Needs for Non-Metropolitan Seniors and Baby Boomers in Retirement
The purpose of this study was to assess perceptions of seniors of their current health needs and to compare them with baby boomers’ perceptions future health needs as they begin entering the senior age bracket in 2011. The focus groups were comprised of male and female seniors or baby boomer participants. The focus group sessions were conducted to collect data concerning perceptions of seniors and baby boomers preference for nomenclature and senior health care needs in retirement. The sessions were transcribed by the court reporters, the moderator, and the non-verbal information recorded by trained observers. The ten, approximately 60-minute sessions were audiotape recorded. The transcriptions were analyzed using content analysis. Key findings from the study identified the terms of choice for individuals 65 and over were “seniors/senior citizens” with “mature” and “elderly” also commonly suggested. Similar findings evolved from the seniors and baby boomers regarding their perceptions for health needs in retirement. Eight themes evolved with numerous sub-categories. The themes included: 1) prescription drug plans, 2) insurance issues, 3) government programs, 4) transportation issues, 5) accessibility of services or doctors, 6) retirement planning, 7) attitudes, and 8) rating one’s health. During the focus group sessions, these themes consistently overlapped concern for health needs in retirement. The most important aspect from all session was the theme: attitude. Having a positive attitude about one’s health is what will contribute to staying healthy. Participants recommended eating healthy, exercising, abstaining from smoking, and reducing stress were important considerations for preparing and living a healthy retirement.