Facilitators, Barriers, and Challenges to Health and Wellness Coaching for Caregivers of Older Adults Aged 65+

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Chafin, Cynthia Renee
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Middle Tennessee State University
ABSTRACT A University of Michigan National Poll on Aging (2022) found that more than half of adults aged 50–80 (54%) stated that they have helped an adult aged 65 or older with health, personal, or other care-related tasks in the past two years. The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP (2020) note in a recent report that family caregivers are often in poor health with 23% finding it hard to take care of their own health and another 23% indicating that caregiving has made their health worse. Research is limited on caregivers of adults ages 65 and older and receptivity to health and wellness coaching. The purpose of this study was to examine receptivity of this population to health and wellness coaching as a strategy for promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors and reducing chronic disease. The Social Cognitive Theory and the Transtheoretical Model were used as frameworks for the study. Facilitators, barriers, and challenges to receiving health coaching were examined as they relate to caregiver receptivity through a descriptive study which will add to the limited body of literature in this area. An 88-question survey was developed that included questions from the American Medical Association (AMA) Caregiver Self-Assessment Questionnaire (2009) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) “Healthy Days Measures.” A total of 202 participant surveys were used for data analyses. Participants were recruited through social media, electronic listservs, and other electronic communications, as well as through targeted outreach to organizations having contact with caregivers. Study findings indicate that facilitators to caregivers participating in health and wellness coaching: motivation, virtual coaching, health insurance coverage, and caregiver support. Barriers and challenges were identified as lack of time, lack of financial resources or cost, and physical environment (including isolation), caregiver health, and lack of awareness of health and wellness coaching. Findings also indicate that having fair or poor health was a significant predictor of receptivity to health and wellness coaching. There were statistically significant differences in facilitators, barriers, and challenges based on income, region of residence (south) and health status. There was a statistically significant difference in receptivity based on barriers and challenges and a marginally significant difference based on facilitators. Health and wellness coaching is an emerging field demonstrating positive outcomes and which may be an effective strategy to facilitate improved health outcomes for caregivers, a generally unhealthy population. By understanding and addressing facilitators, barriers, and challenges to health and wellness coaching for this population, this group may be more effectively reached and opportunities to participate in a promising strategy for improved health behaviors and outcomes.  
Caregivers, Health, Health and Wellness Coaching, Healthy Lifestyles, Older Adults, Prevention, Public health education, Health education, Aging