Help-seeking for dementia among older adults: an application of the self-regulatory model

Helmes, E., McKirdy, T., and Caltabiano, M. (2010) Help-seeking for dementia among older adults: an application of the self-regulatory model. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 29 (Supplement 2). p. 16.

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Recognition of dementia in the community is generally poor and individuals with dementia tend not to access professional help until the disorder is advanced. Using the Self-Regulation Model, this study examines a range of socio-demographic, attitudinal, and psychological factors in order to understand better how these factors contribute to professional health help-seeking among community-dwelling older adults. A sample of 205 healthy older adults ranging in age from 50 to 94 years was recruited from community groups and independent living residences. Participants completed measures of socio-demographic details, dementia-specific knowledge, prior contact with a person with dementia, self-perceptions of ageing, mental health help seeking attitudes, illness perceptions, and professional help-seeking intentions. Dementia knowledge, positive self~perceptions of ageing, and positive mental health help seeking attitudes were found to be related to more prompt help-seeking. The Self-Regulation Model illness perceptions were found not to be associated with seeking professional care. Using multivariate analyses to control for socio~demographic, dementia familiarity, and ageing self-perception factors, the attitudes towards mental health help seeking were found to be the strongest predictors of care-seeking intention, while beliefs about treatment controllability was a weaker predictor. Older adults' subjective ageing perceptions also predicted help-seeking intentions. The Self Regulation Model provided a useful framework with which to examine the older laypersons perceptions of dementia and how these may impact upon seeking professional care. Improved recognition of dementia symptoms may be facilitated by education programs that assist older adults to distinguish better between normative and non-normal ageing. Lower internalization of negative stereotypes of old age related positively to adaptive help seeking responses. Greater attention to the impact of age-related stigma upon the path toward better dementia care is needed both to increase understanding and to implement strategies that will facilitate timely access to appropriate treatment.

Item ID: 15198
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1440-6381
Keywords: dementia; self-care; self-regulation
Date Deposited: 06 May 2011 07:21
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing @ 40%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment @ 20%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920112 Neurodegenerative Disorders Related to Ageing @ 100%
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