Objective: This study investigates the life and health goals of older adults with diabetes, and explores the factors that influence their diabetes self-management. Methods: Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 older adults with diabetes and other morbid conditions and/or their caregivers, when appropriate. Results: Participants' provided a consistent set of responses when describing life and health goals. Participants described goals for longevity, better physical functioning, spending time with family, or maintaining independence. Diabetes discordant conditions, but not diabetes, were seen as barriers to life goals for participants with functional impairments. Functionally independent participants described additional health goals that related to diabetes self-management as diabetes was seen often a barrier to life goals. Caregivers, co-morbid conditions, denial and retirement were among the factors that influenced initiation of diabetes self-management. Conclusion: Participants endorsed health goals and diabetes self-management practices that they believed would help them accomplish their life goals. Functional capabilities and social support were key factors in the relationship between diabetes self-management and their broader goals. Practice implications: When planning diabetes treatments, clinicians, patients and caregivers should discuss the relationship between diabetes self-management and health and life goals as well as the affects of functional limitations and caregiver support.
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