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Contemplating, Caring, Coping, Conversing : A Model for Promoting Mental Wellness in Later Life

Edwards, Helen E. & Chapman, Helen M. (2004) Contemplating, Caring, Coping, Conversing : A Model for Promoting Mental Wellness in Later Life. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 30(5), pp. 16-21.

Abstract

This article is based on the premise that mental wellness for older adults can be promoted through communication and presents a model drawing on the constructs of contemplating, caring, coping, and conversing. The importance of interpersonal communication processes in the care of older adults and some barriers to communication and mental wellness are briefly reviewed. This article challenges nurses to develop awareness of their own caregiving styles and communication processes, and to assist others (e.g., family caregivers, care receivers) to communicate and interact more effectively to advance mental wellness for older adults.

Populations throughout the world are continuing to grow as life expectancy increases. The aging of the population has driven both governments and health professionals in many countries to recognize the need for care practices focusing on maintaining and promoting the health of older adults. Although cure and healing measures extend age, there is no cure for aging. However, various components of health, such as quality of life, personal growth, and healthy relationships, can and should be promoted and maintained throughout the aging process. These components of health are largely subjective and reflect an individual's mental wellness or mental health. In this article, mental wellness is understood to be a state of mind promoting a balanced, active, and social life through effective adjustment to life's physical, social, emotional, and spiritual challenges.

Driven by the premise that mental wellness for older adults can be promoted through communication, this article presents four dimensions of a model for a communication style promoting mental wellness in later life. The dimensions of the model comprise the constructs contemplating, caring, coping, and conversing. Brief dialogues are used to highlight the constructs and how they inform communication that advances mental wellness for older adults. Before examining the four constructs in terms of their relationship to communication, the importance of interpersonal communication processes in elder care and some current barriers are briefly reviewed.

Impact and interest:

5 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 1381
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
ISSN: 0098-9134
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Aged Care Nursing (111001)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Slack Incorporated
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 05 Jul 2005
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:07

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