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Life Stories of Older Adults With Sickle Cell Disease

The article explores life stories of adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) to ascertain how they explain their longevity. While there are improvements in the management of SCD, individuals with the disease still commonly get insufficient medical support. Jenerette, Leak, and Sandelowski (2011) purposed to identify what else may account for the increased longevity for people with SCD.

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The experts selected 15 individuals who had lived more than half the duration anticipated for those suffering from the same kinds of SCD from an adult SCD group in the United States. However, they left out of the study individuals who had recognizable cognitive impairments. The researchers then collected the data using open-ended questions.

Apart from the open-ended questions, they asked the participants to complete demographic questionnaires, which were used to gather details relating to how they were managing the disease. They also audio- taped the interviews to avoid risks of losing or misinterpreting the data. To find the most relevant information, the experts subjected the data to thematic scrutiny. Two of them independently analyzed the data. The researchers then compared the outcomes of the study and resolved dissimilarities by concurrence (Jenerette, et al., 2011).

The results of the study showed that self-care activities, a higher power, supportive family members and friends, and medical care were the main reasons as to why the participants lived for many years. Twelve of the participants accredited their long life to learning to take care of their bodies. One of them, a 52-year-old woman, reported that when she felt unwell, she could lie on her back and and overcome the pain.

Moreover, nearly all the participants said that their friends and relatives were playing crucial roles in ensuring that they stayed healthy. The 54-year-old participant portrayed her life as less fulfilling due to SCD and the absence of offspring and a husband. However, she reported that her grandmother had supported her when she could not take part in physical activities.

Additionally, most of the participants said their prolonged existence was due to the love of God. For example, a 62-year-old woman noted that her God had preserved her life. Two men in the team also shared their belief that people should honor their God for sustaining them. In addition to God, the participants appreciated the quality of health care they were getting. The 54-years old woman appreciated God and the quality of medical care she was getting.

The article indicates certain problems associated with SCD. It notes that most of the women (4 out of 5) reported that their childhood life was characterized with pain. Nevertheless, their lives improved during teenage. The men also said they had faced many problems during childhood.

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In spite of the many difficulties, each of the 15 participants reported aspects of their lives that made them proud. A 73-year old woman said that the birth of her daughter gave her the most joy. The oldest man in the group said he was satisfied with his education and work. Moreover, majority of them were also pleased with a higher power. They kept saying that working for their God was more satisfying than doing anything else in life (Jenerette, at al., 2011).

Notably, the study had several limitations. One of them is that the results were determined by the participants’ ability to recall events. There are possibilities that some of the participants gave inaccurate information. Moreover, the sample size was too small to produce a perfectly objective report, as the outcome reflected the feelings of the participants. Feelings may be influenced by prevailing circumstances (Buchanan, 2009). Despite the limitations, however, the experts succeeded in presenting life reviews that can be used to support individuals suffering from SCD. The findings also form a foundation for initiating further research.


Buchanan, D. A. (2009). The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Research Methods. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Jeneratte, C., Leak, A., & Sandelowski, M. (2011). Life Stories of Older Adults with Sickle Cell Disease. Summer, 22(3), 58-63.

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