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Comparison of Functional Independence among Community-dwelling Older Adults in Rural Areas in South Korea and the United States

  • Lee, Jia (College of Nursing Science.East-West Nursing Research Institute, East-West Medical Research Institute, Kyung Hee University)
  • Received : 2012.06.19
  • Accepted : 2012.10.21
  • Published : 2012.10.31

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to compare level of functional independence and its correlates among community-dwelling older adults in rural areas between South Korea and the United Sates. Methods: The study employed a comparative and correlational design. Data were collected from 198 community-dwelling older adults in rural areas (South Korea=100, & US = 98). Functional independence, cognitive function, obesity and general characteristics were measured. Results: From both countries, approximately fifteen percent of older adults living independently had cognitive problems without any treatments. Among Korean older adults functional independence was associated with a number of chronic diseases and aging while in the United States the participants had a negative correlation with obesity and aging. Conclusion: For Korean older adults in rural areas, nurses should focus on monitoring older adults' abilities to manage chronic illness and designing self-management programs while in the United States the focus should be on healthy lifestyle programs about exercise and diet to increase functional independence.

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