Asthma is a serious health issue for older adults. Among Australians aged 55 years and older, asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality are relatively high by international comparison and compared to other age groups. As people age, the diagnosis of asthma becomes more complicated, primarily due to comorbid conditions. Treatment and self-management are also more difficult in this age group due to the different medications prescribed for multiple conditions. At the same time, older adults do not perceive that they are susceptible to developing asthma, and they do not consider asthma to be a particularly serious disease, especially compared to other diseases. Therefore, the consequences and impacts of asthma on older people are underestimated by the older adults themselves. Furthermore, there is a lack of awareness among older adults that certain symptoms could be indicative of asthma. In many countries, there has been a strong emphasis on asthma promotion directed at children or parents. Overall, these interventions have been effective and have contributed to the decline in asthma mortality and morbidity in children and adolescents. Many of these effective interventions have utilized a social marketing framework in combination with behavioral theories and other health promotion strategies. Recent social marketing interventions targeting other health behaviors among older adults have been effective in changing health behaviors, leading to improved health outcomes. Thus, we argue that the social marketing framework should be utilized to develop asthma initiatives to increase asthma knowledge and encourage older adults to take control of their respiratory symptoms.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sjones/252/