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J Appl Gerontol. 2012 Oct 1;31(5):661-684. Epub 2011 Feb 7.

What community resources do older community-dwelling adults use to manage their osteoarthritis? A formative examination.

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  • 1Thurston Arthritis Research Center, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 3300 Thurston Bldg, CB#7280, Chapel Hill, NC 27517-7280, Telephone: 919-966-0564.


Community resources can influence health outcomes, yet little research has examined how older individuals use community resources for osteoarthritis (OA) management. Six focus groups were conducted with 37 community-dwelling older adult African Americans and Caucasians who self-reported OA and resided in Johnston County, North Carolina. Descriptive analyses and qualitative constant comparison methodology revealed individuals use local recreational facilities, senior centers, shopping centers, religious organizations, medical providers, pharmacies and their social network for OA management. Participants also identified environmental characteristics (e.g., sidewalk conditions, curb-cuts, handicapped parking, automatic doors) that both facilitated and hindered use of community resources for OA management. Identified resources and environmental characteristics were organized around Corbin & Strauss framework tasks: medical/behavioral, role, and emotional management. As older Americans live with multiple chronic diseases, better understanding of what community resources are used for disease management may help improve the health of community-dwelling adults, both with and without OA.

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