Contra viento y marea: Against all odds. Successful aging and older Latinas
Laureano, Evelyn Reyes
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This qualitative study with quantitative components examined successful aging among a sub-population of older Latinas. Data were collected from twenty community-dwelling Puerto Rican women, age 65--89 years old, in New York City. Semi-structured guided interviews to examine perceptions of successful aging and life strengths, and questionnaires that measure functional capacity, well-being and empowerment were used. The study's quantitative findings related to the dependent variables of (1) functional capacity; (2) overall well-being; and (3) personal and social empowerment indicate that study participants who were successful agers showed evidence of no or mild functional limitations, high levels of overall well-being, high levels of personal and social empowerment, and a Successful Aging Index score of greater than seven. The study's qualitative findings related to the independent variables of perceptions of successful aging and the life strengths inventory indicate that study participants, regardless of successful aging status, shared the following perceptions of successful aging and life strengths profile: (1) resilience, perseverance, positive attitudes toward aging; religious and spiritual strength; (2) autonomy, mobility, and adaptability in recognition of capacities and limitations; (3) the importance of family and reciprocal social support systems, altruism, being of service to others, and status/satisfaction gained from fulfillment of maternal/caregiving roles.