Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Department

Diversity and Community Studies

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

While generally respected in Kenya, elders are not primary recipients of health care services in later life. This research documented the need for geriatric specific care and the availability of resources for seniors in Migori, Kenya. Lastly, a set of 5 recommendations was developed to guide the delivery of health services provided to older residents in this small village sector of 6000. After a literature review and analysis of existing demographic data, a needs assessment instrument was developed to guide gathering of relevant data from Migori. Using a research protocol approved through the WKU IRB Committee, the Primary Investigator interviewed 20 elders and 3 key informants in August 2013 in Migori, Kenya. She performed referencing vital statistics checks (weight, blood pressure and nutritional assessment) and in depth interviews with the assistance of a translator. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the vital and nutrition profiles and narrative analysis was used to determine primary and secondary themes in respondents’ health lives. Because of the high prevalence of HIV Aids, many elders have lost their own children and are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. Older Kenyans are chronically underweight, malnourished and at risk for many chronic diseases. This group of elders was no exception to norms. Issues of food availability and the constant caregiving strain meant that many elders face stark choices: feed their grandchildren or themselves. Personal health concerns were secondary and interviewees reported widespread discouragement from using what little formal health services existed.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Dana Burr Bradley

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