Open Access Research article

Program of active aging in a rural Mexican community: a qualitative approach

María de la Luz Martínez-Maldonado12, Elsa Correa-Muñoz1 and Víctor Manuel Mendoza-Núñez1*

Author Affiliations

1 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Unidad de Investigación en Gerontología (FES ZARAGOZA). Batalla 5 de mayo s/n, esq. Fuerte de Loreto, Col. Ejército de Oriente, 09230 México, D. F, México

2 Doctorado en Salud Colectiva, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Unidad Xochimilco), México D. F, México

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2007, 7:276  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-276

Published: 3 October 2007

Abstract

Background

Education is one of the key elements in the promotion of a thorough paradigm for active aging. The aim of this study is to analyze factors that contribute the empowerment of older adults in a rural Mexican community and, thus, promote active aging.

Methods

The study was conducted in a rural Mexican community (Valle del Mezquital), based on an action-research paradigm. One hundred and fifty-five elderly subjects with elementary school education participated in a formal training program promoting gerontological development and health education. Participants in turn became coordinators of mutual-help groups (gerontological nucleus) in Mexico. In-depth interviews were carried out to assess the empowerment after training for active aging.

Results

It was found that there was an increasing feeling of empowerment, creativity and self-fulfillment among participants. Among the main factors that positively influenced training of the elderly toward active aging were the teaching of gerontology topics themselves; besides, their motivation, the self-esteem, the increased undertaking of responsibility, the feeling of belonging to the group, and the sharing of information based on personal experience and on gerontological knowledge.

Conclusion

The main factors that contribute to empowerment of older adults in a rural Mexican community for participate in active aging programs are the training and teaching of gerontology topics themselves; besides, their interest, experience and involvement.