Journal of Gerontological Nursing

CNE Article 

Disability & Aging: An Evolutionary Concept Analysis

Sarah M. Greco, MSN, RN; Catherine Vincent, PhD, RN

Abstract

The idealized image of successful aging as living independently and autonomously does not convey reality for many adults in the United States and globally who are living with a disability. There have been inconsistencies throughout the literature in defining disability and aging. A concept analysis using Rodgers’ method was undertaken to define the concept of disability and aging, understand its antecedents and consequences, and determine the implications for nursing practice and research. Four attributes were defined: limitation in physical, sensory, and/or mental function; universal human experience; difficulties in activities of daily living (ADLs)/instrumental ADLs; and social construction. Exemplars were identified to provide a representation of the attributes in context, and a model of disability and aging was created. This concept analysis provides a better understanding of disability and aging, which can enable nurses to provide education and advocacy to older adults and their families.

Abstract

The idealized image of successful aging as living independently and autonomously does not convey reality for many adults in the United States and globally who are living with a disability. There have been inconsistencies throughout the literature in defining disability and aging. A concept analysis using Rodgers’ method was undertaken to define the concept of disability and aging, understand its antecedents and consequences, and determine the implications for nursing practice and research. Four attributes were defined: limitation in physical, sensory, and/or mental function; universal human experience; difficulties in activities of daily living (ADLs)/instrumental ADLs; and social construction. Exemplars were identified to provide a representation of the attributes in context, and a model of disability and aging was created. This concept analysis provides a better understanding of disability and aging, which can enable nurses to provide education and advocacy to older adults and their families.

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Authors

Ms. Greco is a PhD student, and Dr. Vincent is Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing, Department of Women, Children, and Family Health Science, Chicago, Illinois.

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.

Address correspondence to Sarah M. Greco, MSN, RN, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Nursing (MC 802), Department of Women, Children, and Family Health Science, 845 South Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612-7350; e-mail: sgreco3@uic.edu.

Received: September 03, 2010

Accepted: January 05, 2011

Posted Online: April 13, 2011

10.3928/00989134-20110329-04

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