“Una persona derechita (staying right in the mind)”: Perceptions of Spanish-Speaking Mexican American Older Adults in South Texas Colonias Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: This study describes the perceptions of brain health among older Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans who reside in colonia areas of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. DESIGN AND METHODS: In 2007, 33 Mexican American older adults (9 men and 24 women) were recruited by promotoras (community health workers) from clusters of colonias in Hidalgo County to participate in focus group discussions conducted in Spanish. After participants completed a 19-item questionnaire (in Spanish), a bilingual and bicultural researcher from the community, trained as a moderator, conducted 4 focus groups using a semistructured interview guide, culturally modified with the assistance of promotoras. All discussions were audio recorded; audio recordings were transcribed verbatim in Spanish and then translated into English. Analyses were conducted in English. RESULTS: Almost 85% had less than a high school education and 100% reported a household income less than $20,000/year. Groups attached cultural meaning to aging well. The idea of "staying straight in the mind" resonated as a depiction of brain health. Participants also mentioned the types of activities they could do to stay "right in the mind." IMPLICATIONS: Particular attention must be focused on development of programs that provide satisfying culturally appropriate activities for older participants and the delivery of health messages that take into consideration culture and language.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sharkey, J. R., Sharf, B. F., & St. John, J. A.

citation count

  • 12

publication date

  • June 2009