Selected psychosocial factors affecting wellness of the elderly: a case of homes for the elderly in Nairobi County
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Changing family values and migration into cities has seen many Kenyans live away from their aging parents making it hard to fulfil their traditional role of caring for them. This has contributed to the rapid growth of homes for the aged in the country especially in Nairobi County. The purpose of the study was to investigate selected psychosocial factors affecting wellness of the elderly persons admitted in homes for the elderly in Nairobi county.The study focused on three psychosocial factors; loneliness, inactivity and dependence. The researcher aimed to explore how these factors affect the wellness of the old persons in homes for the aged and what interventions can be applied to improve their wellbeing. The study was guided by the psychosocial theory of human development, Cognitive behavioural theory (CBT) and the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. The study employed a survey descriptive research design. The target population was the five homes for the elderly in Nairobi County. The study used stratified sampling technique to get a sample of 122 participants. Data were collected by use of structured questionnaires semi-structured interview guides and Focus group discussions and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistical methods. Descriptive statistics such as percentages, frequencies were used to summarize data while regression analysis was used to infer causal relationship between variables under study using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23. Qualitative data was analysed thematically by use of content analysis and presented in narratives (verbatim). The study findings on loneliness and wellness of the elderly showed that the elderly enjoyed safety and security at the homes for the elderly; they were happier living at the homes, enjoyed the company of people at the home and they had made more friends since almost all were in same age bracket. On dependency and wellness of the elderly it was revealed that most of the residents in the homes for the elderly were not entirely dependent on the caregivers since they were in-charge of their personal cleanliness without assistance. Concerning inactivity and wellness of the elderly the findings showed that most of the elderly were not involved in sporting activities or in productive activities like knitting, painting or baking since their age was advanced and mobility was a problem. The study finding indicated that it was possible to improve the wellness of the elderly in the homes through certain interventions such as encouraging frequent participation of the elderly in physical activities, frequent counseling sessions and frequent health checkups. The study recommended that the homes should organize and encourage community visits especially from where the elderly hail from. The management should make the elderly at the homes for the elderly feel like home by encouraging openness, give the elderly the ability to choose and participate in community events.