Patterns and perceived benefits of utilizing seven major complementary health approaches in U.S. Older adults

Taeho Greg Rhee, R. A. Marottoli, Peter H. Van Ness, Mary E. Tinetti

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14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To examine patterns and perceived benefits of seven major complementary health approaches (CHA) among older adults in the United States. Methods: Data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which represents non-institutionalized adults aged 65 or older (n = 7,116 unweighted), were used. We elicited seven most common CHA used in older adults, which are acupuncture, herbal therapies, chiropractic, massage, meditation, Tai Chi, and yoga. Survey participants were asked to self-report perceived benefits (eg, maintaining health and stress reduction) in their CHA used. We estimated prevalence and perceived benefits of CHA use. We also investigated socio-demographic and clinical factors associated with the use of any of these seven CHA. Results: Overall, 29.2% of older adults used any of seven CHA in the past year. Most commonly used CHA included herbal therapies (18.1%), chiropractic (8.4%), and massage (5.7%). More than 60% of older CHA users reported that CHA were important for maintaining health and well-being. Other perceived benefits included improving overall health and feeling better (52.3%), giving a better sense of control over health (27.4%), and making it easier to cope with health problems (24.7%). Older adults with higher education and income levels, ≥2 chronic conditions, and functional limitations had greater odds of using CHA (p < .01, respectively). Conclusion: A substantial number of older CHA users reported CHA-related benefits. CHA may play a crucial role in improving health status among older adults. At the population level, further research on the effects of CHA use on bio-psycho-social outcomes is needed to promote healthy aging in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1124
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume73
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
T.G.R. received funding support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of National Institutes of Health (NIH) (#T32AG019134). P.H.V.N. received funding support from the NIA of NIH (#P30AG021342). The funding agency had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript, and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Funding Information:
T.G.R. received funding support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of National Institutes of Health (NIH) (#T32AG019134). P.H.V.N. received funding support from the NIA of NIH (#P30AG021342). The funding agency had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript, and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. Data access and responsibility: T.G.R. had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Disclaimers: Publicly available data were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Analyses, interpretation, and conclusions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Division of Health Interview Statistics or NCHS of the CDC. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the authors. All research procedures performed in this study are in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board at Yale University School of Medicine (#2000021662).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Alternative medicine
  • Complementary
  • Complementary health approaches
  • Integrative medicine
  • Older adults
  • Perceived benefits

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