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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1845720, 10 pages
Research Article

Healthy Aging from the Perspectives of 683 Older People with Multiple Sclerosis

Recovery & Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, Canada A1A 1E5

Received 15 April 2016; Revised 16 June 2016; Accepted 22 June 2016

Academic Editor: Angelo Ghezzi

Copyright © 2016 Elizabeth M. Wallack et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. The aim of this study was to determine what factors most greatly contributed to healthy aging with multiple sclerosis (MS) from the perspective of a large sample of older people with MS. Design and Methods. Participants (; >55 years of age with symptoms >20 years) provided answers to an open-ended question regarding healthy aging and were categorized into three groups, 55–64 (young), 65–74 (middle), and 75 and over (oldest old). Sociodemographic actors were compared using ANOVA. Two independent raters used the framework method of analyzing qualitative data. Results. Participants averaged 64 years of age with MS symptoms for 32.9 years . 531 participants were female (78%). The majority of participants lived in their own home () with a spouse or partner (). Participants described seven themes: social connections, attitude and outlook on life, lifestyle choices and habits, health care system, spirituality and religion, independence, and finances. These themes had two shared characteristics, multidimensionality and interdependence. Implications. Learning from the experiences of older adults with MS can help young and middle aged people with MS plan to age in their own homes and communities. Our data suggests that older people with MS prioritize factors that are modifiable through targeted self-management strategies.