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Health status and experiences of barren elderly women in Ondo State, Nigeria

Abstract

Izibeloko O. Jack-Ide, Beauty P. Azebiri, Linda East

In Nigeria, barren elderly women face many challenges of daily living among which are loss of husbands and features of barrenness. The knowledge of such experiences will assist practicing nurses and social workers to understand special care and social support needs of barren elderly women. This study therefore examined the specific experiences (cultural and interactional), the feelings, and the coping strategies of the barren elderly women. It also assesses the roles of family members in their care. Fortyfour (44) barren elderly women selected by snow balling technique from eight (8) randomly selected local government areas formed the study population. A semi structural interview schedule from world health organization standard interview guides for assessment of the health of barren elderly women was the major instrument used for data collection. The interview schedule was tested for validity and reliability before being used for final data collection. Data collection took twelve (12) weeks. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics showed that about two third (2/3) of the study population attributed state of fear, anxiety, helplessness, neglect, abandonment, frustration and stigmatization trend to the negative effect of competition especially in polygamous setting. However, 61.4%believed that they were being stigmatized as a result of barrenness. Findings also revealed that the health status of barren elderly women is significantly related to their support. Besides, there is a significant relationship between the ages of barren elderly and their health status (x2 15.22; P<0.01). However the study founded no significant association between the health status of the widowed and non widowed barren elderly women. Lastly there was an association between educational status and health status of the respondents. The study therefore concluded that the health status of the barren elderly women was mostly affected by income, age, effects of barrenness, familiar care coupled with social support and some varying degrees of common ailments being experienced by them.

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