Performance of diabetes self-management behaviors by older adults in Georgia senior centers
Zack, Amy Rebekah
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This study examined the performance levels and predictors of diabetes self-management (DSM) behaviors in older adults in senior centers from 12 Georgia Area Agencies on Aging. Participants were a convenience sample (N = 240, mean age = 74 years, 78% female, 51% Caucasian, 49% African American), and participants’ levels of DSM behaviors were assessed using questions from the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities, a validated self-report tool (Toobert et al., 2000). The questions assess current physical activity and personal self-care behaviors and were recorded as number of days of the past week the behavior was performed. Tobacco use was also assessed. The mean days of performance by participants were higher for medically-related DSM behaviors (testing blood glucose (BG), taking medications, and checking feet) than for lifestyle-related DSM behaviors (following a healthy diet, spacing carbohydrates, and participating in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (PA)). The percentage of participants performing behaviors at a high level (performing a behavior on 5 or more days of the past week) was recorded: 66% for following a healthy diet, 42% for spacing carbohydrates, 45% for being moderately active (≥ 30 min), 73% for testing blood glucose, 97.5% for taking medications, and 65% for checking feet. Tobacco use was recorded in 6% of participants. Only 11% reported performing all DSM behaviors at a high level. The association of predictors, including age, gender, race, education, self-reported health, social and emotional support, and food security, with performance of DSM behaviors was examined using logistic regression. Older adults reported performing medically-related behaviors more frequently than life-style related behaviors. Receiving more social and emotional support was strongly associated with performing more DSM behaviors at a high level. This study provides knowledge about DSM and its predictors in vulnerable older adults in Georgia senior centers. This information can be used for planning and developing future programs needed to reduce the burden of diabetes complications among vulnerable older adults.
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