The current study describes the meaning of health and health care from the perspective of rural-dwelling adults age 75 and older (mean age = 79.9). Rural-dwelling older adults are apt to experience health care disparities due to poverty, social isolation, health literacy challenges, and lack of health care resources. Few studies describe the meaning of health and health care from their perspective; thus, eff orts to impact disparities may be misguided. Qualitative descriptive methodology was used to gather information from older adults in two frontier counties in the Northwestern United States. Eighteen residents engaged in individual interview sessions. Self-perception of health was positive, despite reporting multiple chronic health problems. Participants did not subscribe to a narrative that being old meant decline, loss, and despair. Obstacles to health care access were normalized, and a redemptive capacity to bounce back from adversity was remarkable. Mostly, participants valued being a member of a cohesive social network where meaningful living thrived.
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