Gerontology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Exploring person-centered care and mealtimes for residents with dementia in specialized care units

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-08
Abstract: 

This qualitative study explored the dining experience of residents with dementia living in specialized care units, with a focus on person-centered care aspects in staff practices. Data were collected by multiple methods: participant observation, informal and formal interviews with care staff, and examination of relevant documents at a long term care facility in British Columbia, Canada. Data analysis revealed five person-centered categories in relation to dining: (1) Relaxed Pace/ Outpacing, (2) Respect/ Disrespect, (3) Connecting/ Distancing, (4) Empowerment/ Disempowerment, and (5) Inclusion/ Ignoring. Analysis also identified the ways in which staff understood person-centered care, and factors affecting its delivery. These categories provide insight into the psychosocial and physical environmental factors that affect residents’ dining experience. The findings suggest that while staff practices reflect several aspects of person-centered care, a biomedical undercurrent continues to hinder the evolution of dementia care.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Habib Chaudhury
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Exploring physical and social environmental barriers and facilitators that affect older adults' fear of falling: A sample funding proposal

Date created: 
2015-08-11
Abstract: 

Fear of falling (FOF) has been described as "a potential health problem of equal importance to a fall” (Zilistra, Van Haastregt, Van Eijk, Van Rossum, Stalenhoef & Kempen, 2007, p.304). Therefore, the focus of the proposed study is to conduct a comprehensive investigation of FOF amongst community-dwelling older adults focusing on physical environment and social support factors. A mixed methods approach will be used and includes: SWEAT-R, an environmental audit, to analyze 3 urban and 3 suburban neighbourhoods, a four part survey to be completed by older adults living in these neighbourhoods, and, Photovoice, a participatory tool with a discussion group component. The grant proposal, found in Chapter 5, will follow the guidelines of the CIHR Project Scheme: 2016 1st Live Pilot grant. The primary objective of the proposed study is to uncover what factors of the physical environment and social supports are linked to FOF among community-dwelling older adults.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Atiya Mahmood
Andrew Sixsmith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Examining the health behaviours of older spousal caregivers: gender and the healthy caregiver effect

Date created: 
2015-06-16
Abstract: 

This mixed methods study examines how physical and nutritional health behaviours compare between married older adults (aged 65+) caregiving for their spouse and older married non-caregivers, with attention to differences between men and women. Using data from the 2008-2009 Canadian Community Health Survey, Healthy Aging module, hierarchical regression analyses were performed to investigate the association between spousal caregiving and engagement in regular physical activity and healthy eating among married older adults (N = 5,579). Qualitative interviews were also conducted with 14 older spousal caregivers to contextualize the survey findings. Integrated results indicate a potential healthy caregiver effect, especially among women, in relation to increased caregiving physical activity. However, the impact of spousal caregiving on health behaviours is complex and influenced by gender, caregiving intensity and time. Leisure and nutritional health behaviours are negatively affected by the demands of caregiving. Study implications are relevant for caregiver interventions, community programs, and healthy public policy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Barbara Mitchell
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Canadian Policy and Aging in Place: The Importance of Assistive Technology and Information and Communication Technology

Date created: 
2014-04-25
Abstract: 

This capstone project critically analyzes Canadian policy initiatives and aging in place in relation to the enhancement of home and community services through the implementation of assistive technology and information and communication technology. A review of the literature reveals that policy and funding arrangements may be impeding the delivery of health and community care services and the accessibility of assistive technology and information and communication technology that support aging in place. It is proposed that underlying factors have created a long history of favouring acute care over home and community care and this tendency is currently reflected in reactive initiatives concerning the potential of assistive technology and information and communication technology. The project provides recommendations for future policy initiatives in regards to a technology strategy specifically designed for home and community care’s prevention and maintenance function with the intention of improving opportunities for aging in place.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Sixsmith
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

HIV/AIDS and the Older Adult : An Exploratory Study of the Age-related Differences in Access to Medical and Social Services

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2001
Abstract: 

This was an exploratory study investigating age-related differences in access to medical and social services among individuals infected with HIV/AIDS. Its primary purpose was to investigate the experiences that older adults with HIV/AIDS have had with accessing HIV/AIDS-related medical and social services and to compare their experiences to those of infected younger adults. The study also investigated the perceptions that younger and older adults have about the need to, or value of, providing specific medical and social services for older infected adults in order to understand current and future service needs and potential service accessibility issues.

 

Data were collected from 34 in-depth interviews and findings allowed for both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The Student's t-test was employed to evaluate age group differences in access and descriptive analyses were used to supplement and elaborate on the statistical analyses. The older adult's ability to access services was evaluated by addressing predisposing, enabling and need variables in addition to characteristics associated with the medical and social service systems.

 

The Student's t-test revealed that older adults accessed fewer medical services, health information sources and social organizations compared to younger aged adults. However, they accessed a similar number of social and emotional supports compared to younger aged adults, and reported fewer barriers to accessing services compared to younger adults. Descriptive analyses revealed that infected older adults had positive experiences accessing both health care professionals and organizations, and that they accessed a variety of HIV/AIDS-specific and non-specific social organizations. HIV/AIDS-related stereotypes held by the gay community limited the older adults' access to services to some degree. Younger adults however, experienced similar stereotypes.

 

Through qualitative analysis, three major themes explained the findings of this study: the older adults maintained an independent and forthright attitude about service access, had a comprehensive knowledge of their infection and available services and they resided in a service rich geographic area.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gloria Gutman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Social and recreational activities in assisted living: tenant participation and quality of life

Date created: 
2015-01-21
Abstract: 

The availability of social and recreational activities in assisted living provides older adult tenants with opportunities for physical activity and socialization in later life. This thesis explores the factors and attributes that influence tenants’ desire and ability to participate in the scheduled activities offered in assisted living and the role participation has on their Quality of Life. Qualitative methods were used to examine features of the organizational, physical, and social environment in two assisted living residences. Four substantive themes were identified: 1) “I’m in here for a reason”: The intersection of home and health, 2) Negotiating boundaries, 3) Opportunities and choices: Blending needs and wants, and 4) Nuanced social life: The continuum of goers to noers. The findings reveal the complexity of participatory behaviours in assisted living and the intersections between multiple levels of the environment. Implications for recreation programming and assisted living policy are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Atiya Mahmood
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Exploring the Role of Environments of Adult Day Programs on the Well Being of Older Adults With Dementia

Date created: 
2014-09-29
Abstract: 

Despite the existence of substantial research on physical environment of long-term care facilities, there is a scarcity of empirical research on the physical environment of community-based programs such as adult day centres. In particular, there is limited evidence on the role of environmental design of those settings in supporting (or hindering) the needs of older persons with dementia. This study explores the effect of physical and social environments of adult day program setting on clients’ activities and well-being in the context of purpose-built versus non-purpose-built facilities. A mixed-method approach was used that included: physical environmental assessment, in-depth interviews with staff members and ethnographic observations. Four themes emerged: ‘Design Matters’, ‘Social Connectedness’, ‘Staying Active’, and, ‘Community-based Health Services’. The findings demonstrate the need for adult day programs’ integrated and restorative services, which provide appropriate care and social contact for frail older adults, thereby fostering independence and healthy living.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Habib Chaudhury
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Opportunities and Challenges of Innovative Housing and/or Support Service Models in fostering Aging in Place for Older Adults: A Critical Review

Date created: 
2014-08-26
Abstract: 

This capstone project presents a critical synthesis of recent literature (2000 to 2013) focused on three types of innovative housing and/or service models and aging in place to address housing needs for older adults. The inquiry reviews and synthesizes literature across multidisciplinary field related to psychology, sociology, gerontology and architecture. By comparative analysis of their differences and similarities, opportunities and challenges are identified for Villages, NORCs and Cohousing. Findings affirm the potential of these innovative housing and/or service models to support aging in place. Through planned empowerment programs, sociocultural activities, enhanced health/social services and accessible built environment, older adults can remain autonomous and independent living in safe and comfortable surroundings. Organizational strategies include shared leadership, effective communication processes, co-location of services and relationships. Villages, NORCs and Cohousing’s distinct effectiveness stem from their identification, contextualization and strategic allocation of external and internal resources. Their challenge to sustain comes from membership recruitment and funding limitations. This comparative study and analysis will advance research, practice and policy on housing for aging in place.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Habib Chaudhury
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Development and Validation of a Scale for Measuring Spousal End-of-Life Communication

Date created: 
2014-04-16
Abstract: 

Currently there are no instruments measuring communication about end-of-life (EOL) issues in families not involved in palliative care. The purpose of the study was the development and initial validation of a new quantitative instrument, the Marital End-of-Life Communication Scale (MELCS), to measure EOL communication in married/partnered adults. After initial item development and validation in married/partnered adults (age 45 years old and older, N=101), six items, scored by 5-point Likert-type response options, were chosen for the final version of the scale. Factor analyses confirmed the theorized single-factor structure. The MELCS demonstrated excellent reliability (CR=0.892) as well as good content, convergent (AVE=0.587), discriminant, construct, and criterion-related validity. In addition, the scale was invariant across age, gender, and level of death anxiety. Analyses of the nomological network showed that marital EOL communication positively related with general marital communication (R=0.53), and negatively related with death anxiety (R=–0.47) and self-rated health status (R=–0.44).

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Wister
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Physical Activity and Health Outcomes: A Systematic and Methodological Review

Date created: 
2014-04-22
Abstract: 

It is understood that regular physical activity (PA) plays a critical role in improving and maintaining a person’s health and well-being, especially as one grows older. Such benefits include preventing or controlling obesity, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease including stroke, depression, cognitive disorders, certain cancers, and improving strength, flexibility and function. Regular PA can also stave off premature mortality. Despite these benefits of PA, older adults are becoming less active as they age. This capstone addresses two objectives: 1) to systematically and methodologically review and analyze cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between PA and health outcomes from the older adult general population living in the community or in institutional care aged 50 years and older and 2) to compare the results cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Results indicated that both cross-sectionally and longitudinally there were weak to moderate associations between PA and health outcomes such as emotional well-being, cognitive function, physical function, mortality, depression, chronic disease, quality of life and successful aging. Demonstrating a positive association between PA and health outcomes among older adults could have considerable public health implications in designing interventions to promote participation in PA.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Wister
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.