People over age sixty-five are the fastest growing segment of the population in most developed and developing nations and their healthcare problems are placing strains on healthcare systems. An added complication for healthcare providers is that elderly populations carry with them a variety of culturally-specific views surrounding the aging process, so it's hard to standardize care for the elderly globally, and also within individual countries. Addressing cultural difference in gerontology policy and practice therefore requires defining "aging well" or "a good life in old age" in the eyes of the elderly. This study used Thailand's healthcare system as a model to investigate how healthcare professionals accommodate elderly patients' views, values and motivations surrounding "a good life in old age,” as defined by both elderly patients and healthcare professionals. To do this, anthropological methods provided a means for exploring not only what patients' views are, but also why they hold these views. Through use of open ended interviews and participant observation, this study aimed to discover how both current and future healthcare professionals can work to truly listen, and be sensitive, to patients' individual needs and desires, in order to give patients the best care possible. I completed this research through the International Research Opportunities Program at the University of New Hampshire.
UNH Undergraduate Research Journal
Natalie Porter, Chulanee Thianthai
Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire
Marinucci, Jennie Lynn, "A Good Life in Old Age: Accommodating Elderly Patients' Values and Motivations in the Thai Healthcare System" (2016). Inquiry Journal 2016. 11.