Cohort analysis is a tool to understand the impact of historical experiences of various ethnic cohorts on the lives of elders. It includes major influences on the ethnic group during the lifetime of the current population of elders, such as periods of higher discrimination or immigration.
Influence of an event differs based on the age of elder at the time. Not all individuals who identify themselves as members of the ethnic group will have been influenced by all events.
Use of Cohort Analysis in Clinical Care
- Taking relevant social histories.
- Understanding influences on elders’ trust of providers and attitudes toward the health care system. For example, knowing that an African American elder grew up with segregated and severely disadvantaged health care, and is very aware of the abuse in the Tuskegee Experiment may help a provider understand the patient’s insistence of not limiting health care, even at the end of life.