Purpose: To determine the results of a community educational structure developed to increase social activity, reduce stress and reduce loneliness while teaching skills that enhance life behavioral health skills.
Methods: A sect of elderly population were gathered into specific categories by ethnicity, finances, and education then tested and taught the 4 month “CAN” program skills. Results compared and evaluated.
Results: Significant improvements between different sects of the groups. Particular improvements of social activity were noted amongst ethnic groups with low income and ethnic groups with higher education.
Conclusion: Teaching the 16 week life skills program of “CAN” resulted in much benefited health for senior citizens providing a higher quality of life for the participants.
Key Words and Tags: Prevention Research, Elderly, Loneliness, Aging, Senior Citizens, CAN, Community Based Education, ANOVA, Perceived
Program and Purpose
“CAN” is a four month program broken down into 15 lessons with pretest and post-tests given to help evaluate the results. The program was implemented at 20 sites in rural and urban (American Journal of Health Promotion areas of Nevada in the county of Clark between 1999 and 2004 (Collins & Benedict, p. 46, 2006).
The 15 lessons are taught in a 16 week period and teach the following;
1. Personal Safety (such as reducing accidents at home)
2. Financial strategies to manage limited resources
3. General wellness (such as immunizations and hand washing)
4. Productive aging
Along with encouraging wellness education that “relates instruction to practice. Lifelong learning, physical activity, social support, moderate drinking, and less smoking promote healthy aging.”
“CAN” was developed to research the effects of a supportive community based health program built to help seniors reduce stress and loneliness that teaches them skills to develop mastery on healthy aging. ANOVA, The UCLA Loneliness Scale, PSS and The Mastery Scale were used to measure the data (Collins & Benedict, p. 46, 2006).
Setting and Participants
“CAN” was provided to select number of 339 that was divided into different groups of seniors using “ANOVA (2X3X4). Each group is formed by ethnicity, education and income.” The “CAN” program took place in 20 different communities throughout Nevada in Clark County. And the pretest and post-test were self-administered.
Then there were sub groups for ethnicity into Caucasian and ethnic minorities, then “by income to three different levels ($0 to $9,999; $10,000-$19,999; and $20,000 or more)” and lastly, “by education to four levels (not completed high school; high school graduate; some college/ college degree; and graduate work/graduate degree.” (Collins & Benedict, p. 46, 2006).
80% of the group were female so they didn’t separate by gender. Data was retained for this analysis from 36 seniors “Can” sessions.
Major Health Issues Addressed
“Loneliness has been shown to have a negative impact on health outcomes, including increased mortality, diminished recovery from illness, and a greater health service utilization, such as nursing home admission. The ability to cope effectively with stress is seen in older adults with strong social support systems more than in their lonelier peers.
Stress, or the degree to which participants perceive their recent daily life to be uncontrollable or unpredictable, would be a negative indicator of mastery.” (Collins & Benedict, p. 45, 2006).
The main goal of “CAN” was to reduce stress and loneliness for senior citizens. They approached this by teaching personal safety and financial management skills.
An important skill that they taught was hand washing. They didn’t mention teaching daily dental hygiene or food expiration checks importance for refrigerated foods in this article.
They found that there was more social activity among the groups of ethnic minorities with lower incomes and ethnic higher education. Overall, they found that Community Supported Health Education increases the promotion of healthy aging. Interactive educational enhancement seems to transform healthier aging by rewarding the participants with ongoing learning and practical daily achievements towards mastery. (Collins & Benedict, p. 48, 2006).
“An important finding of this study is that whereas participants showed statistically significant improvements in mastery, loneliness, and stress measures, minority participants with low incomes and those with formal educational levels showed the greatest reduction impact on those at higher risk of health problems. Such findings raise questions regarding how this occurs and whether such impacts last over time, warranting further investigation into such issues.” (Collins & Benedict, p. 48, 2006).
Contributions and Studies Useful Contributions
ANOVA, The UCLA Loneliness Scale, PSS and The Mastery Scale were all part of the contributions. The seven item Mastery Scale was contributed by Pearlin and Schooler, The UCLA Loneliness Scale and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) were also contributions.
The study itself was a useful contribution to help healthcare facilities around the world know how to better care for and help the elderly have a healthy aging process.
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