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The Role of Spirituality in Conceptualizations of Health Maintenance and Healthy Aging Among Latin American Immigrants.

  • Weiner-Light, Sophia
  • Rankin, Katherine P
  • Lanata, Serggio
  • Possin, Katherine L
  • Dohan, Daniel
  • Bernstein Sideman, Alissa
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2021
eScholarship - University of California
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ObjectivesWe aimed to investigate ways in which spirituality was conceptualized in relationship to maintaining brain health and healthy aging in a cohort of older adults who immigrated to the United States from diverse regions of Latin America, in order to ultimately develop culturally-tailored brain health promotion approaches.DesignWe conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews.SettingParticipants were recruited from community centers and by a memory care center at a large academic medical center.ParticipantsWe interviewed 30 Spanish-speaking immigrants over age 60. Questions addressed perspectives about the brain, aging, and dementia. Interviews were coded for themes.MeasurementsThematic analysis was used to analyze participants' responses.ResultsWe identified 5 themes: (1) expressing gratitude to God for mental and physical health, (2) putting the onus of life and death in God's hands, (3) using church as a place to socialize and build community as an approach to leading a healthy lifestyle, (4) using prayer as nourishment for the soul and the brain, and (5) gaining inner-peace and calm, and thus maintaining a healthy life, due to a connection with God.ConclusionThe incorporation of customized spiritual interventions may be a mechanism by which to increase the effectiveness of brain health promotion efforts.

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