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

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Investigating the Feasibility of Smartphone Applications as a Support for Older Adults with Mild Impairments in Cognition

Date created: 
2014-03-28
Abstract: 

Smartphone applications have the capacity to support many of the needs specific to older adults with mild impairments in cognition. This capstone examines characteristics and diagnostic terminology used to encompass various forms of mild impairments in cognition, the unmet needs of those with these conditions, smartphone applications that have the potential to address these needs, and technology adoption considerations. User personas based on the literature review provide examples of how smartphone applications can be incorporated to meet the needs of this population. Findings from the literature review indicate that certain smartphone applications match with the needs of this population and could be utilized if technology adoption barriers are addressed. Given these findings, a research proposal is made for a feasibility study investigating a peer-led smartphone application training program to facilitate goal achievement for older adults with mild impairments in cognition.

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.

An Exploration into Pathways, Motivations, Barriers and Experiences of Yoga among Middle-aged and Older Adults

Date created: 
2013-12-03
Abstract: 

The aim of this thesis was to explore potential differences in yoga practices between middle-aged (40 to 54) and older adult yoga students (55+). A social learning/health belief model was used to frame this research. A mixed methods approach was used. For the quantitative analyses, a convenience sample, of 452 participants, was collected through an on-line questionnaire. For the qualitative analyses, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 20 of the participants. Results of the mixed methods approach showed several unique differences between the age groups in terms of motivations and barriers, but not pathways. Implications for health promotion programs that target older adults were discussed.

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

Fear of crime and older adults: a metanarrative review of the literature

Date created: 
2013-08-22
Abstract: 

Older adults have been described as experiencing irrational fear of crime with debilitating effects on the quality of their lives. Recent research suggests fear of crime by older adults may have been over-stated due to conceptual, methodological, and theoretical weaknesses. It has been argued that fear of crime has a “murky history,” “shaky foundations,” and “a constructed, contingent, and ultimately contestable” nature. A metanarrative review of the literature was completed in order to identify where the “fear of crime debate has been, where it presently sits, and where it might travel in the future.” The review utilized nine electronic data bases up to 2013 including Ageline, PsychInfo, Wiley Library, PsychArticles, Avery Index, Cochrane Central, ProQuest Dissertations, Web of Science, and SFU Library. Articles addressing definitional, conceptual, measurement and theoretical issues are included. The results strongly suggest that irrational fear of crime is a very limited experience for older adults.

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

Unique Care Giving Issues for Family Caregivers of Chinese and South Asian Older Adults

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-08-12
Abstract: 

The purpose of this meta-ethnography was to synthesize qualitative studies on the unique care giving contexts of South Asian and Chinese caregivers and care receivers, and to gain an understanding of the systemic factors that influence their care giving contexts. A broad search of the literature on South Asian and Chinese caregivers and care receivers was conducted and 22 journal articles were selected which met the inclusion criteria for the meta-ethnography. The systematic synthesis of the literature according to the Meta-Ethnography procedures laid out by Noblit and Hare (1988) revealed two dominant themes: (1) The Personal is Political and (2) Becoming an Ally. These interpretations illuminate the care giving contexts under discussion. They are especially beneficial for understanding the challenges and systemic issues which contribute to the care giving contexts of South Asian and Chinese groups.

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

The effect of social and built environment factors on aging in place (AIP): A critical synthesis

Date created: 
2013-08-13
Abstract: 

This capstone project presents a critical synthesis of recent literature (2000-2013) related to aging in place in the urban environment. Definitions across multiple disciplines including geography, gerontology, sociology, and psychology are reviewed and inform the development of a proposed holistic definition of optimal aging in place. The literature is then reviewed and synthesised for social and built environment barriers and facilitators to aging in place, along with two key theoretical models and the World Health Organizations Age Friendly Cities framework leading to a conceptual framework for optimal aging in place. It is proposed that this theoretically grounded framework of optimal aging in place will help guide future work in the area of aging in place in the urban neighbourhood. It was found that the intersectionality of multiple factors affects each individual differently depending on their current level of competence leading to a unique combination of factors involved in optimal aging in place.

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

Safety Culture in Long-Term Care Organizations: What Can Be Learned from the Commercial Aviation Industry?

Date created: 
2013-04-22
Abstract: 

The safety of older adults requiring institutionalization due to their higher care needs is an important public health concern. This capstone paper defines the emerging concept of safety culture and provides a critical examination of the current gaps in the safety culture in Long-Term Care (LTC) organizations designed mostly for older adults who cannot live independently at home. Conceptualized as the manifestation of complex systems failure, falls are the most commonly reported adverse events and a great safety concern in LTC. An overview of a successful safety culture in the commercial aviation industry is explored for policy and practical implications. It is hypothesized that the lessons from the commercial aviation industry can be translated to improve the safety culture in LTC and ensure the safety of and prevent harm to older residents. This exploratory analysis reflects how an effective safety culture could contribute to optimize the safety of residents by the processes of care in place. Challenges in addressing resident safety in LTC on quality outcomes and the resident’s rights to autonomy and human dignity in LTC are also addressed.

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.

The role of community gardens in supporting quality of life in urban dwelling older adults

Date created: 
2013-04-02
Abstract: 

The goals of this case study were to explore the role of community gardens in supporting quality of life in urban dwelling older adults and to gain a better understanding of the social aspects of community gardening participation. Qualitative research methods were employed, including in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations with selected garden members from Cottonwood Community Garden in East Vancouver, Canada. Five substantive themes emerged: a) Maintenance of overall well-being, b) Engaging in a meaningful pastime, c) Social engagement, d) “Staying invested in the garden as I age”, and e) Gardening in East Vancouver. These themes depict the subjective experiences of older community gardeners and highlight the physical, psychological and social benefits ensuing from their participation in community gardening. The findings have potential implications on community gardening programs for older adults and design guidelines to support the inclusion of accessible green spaces in urban environments to facilitate active aging.

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

Place attachment among older adults living in northern remote communities in Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Place attachment refers to the experience of emotional and cognitive ties to the physical environment. Among older adults, place attachment may be experienced and represented as a sense of insideness that consists of three dimensions: physical insideness, social insideness, and autobiographical insideness (Rowles, 1990). The study employed a qualitative research method to examine the dimensions of place attachment among older adults living on the Queen Charlotte Islands, a northern remote setting in British Columbia. Overall, aspects of the physical and social environment, rural lifestyle, and time in place are salient to the development and reinforcement of place-based ties. Findings from the study have relevance for health and housing policy for older rural populations in reducing potential trauma from relocation, planning and development of appropriate housing options and improving service delivery for new and long-term residents.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Gerontology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)

Rural-urban differences in self-care behaviours of older Canadians: The effects of access to primary care

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This thesis explores effects of access to primary care on the self-care of older Canadians, across 5 residential categories. Previous research indicates persons living in rural environments experience profound barriers to primary care, compared to their urban counterparts. Further, self-care is influenced by health knowledge, often acquired through the formal health care system. It was hypothesized that the association between residential status and self-care will be partially explained by access to primary care. Data from the CCHS - Cycle 1.1 (2001) were used. The research sample consisted of 24,281 Canadians, aged 65 and older. Logistic regression results evidenced several predictors of self-care. However, none of the independent variables fully explained the association between access to primary care and selfcare. Since previous research employs dichotomous rurallurban comparisons, these findings provide an important and unique contribution to the literature. The results suggest need for research identifying factors mediating group differences in self-care.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Gerontology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Retirement income policies and welfare state retrenchment: A comparative study of Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of welfare state retrenchment on the retirement income system in Canada during the years 1980-2000. In order to provide perspective on the Canadian experience, this study also examined the effects of retrenchment on the pension systems in the Netherlands and Sweden. The theoretical foundation for this study was supported by Esping-Andersen's (1990) welfare-state regime typology (liberal, conservative and social-democratic). To address retrenchment, this study incorporated Rice and Prince's (2000) model of retrenchment strategies. It was hypothesized that: 1) there is a link between regime type and retrenchment strategy pursued; and, 2) the liberal regime (Canada) will be more likely to experience retrenchment than either the conservative (the Netherlands) or social-democratic (Sweden) regimes. Contrary to these predictions, it was found that while all three countries did experience retrenchment, the Netherlands experienced the most retrenchment.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Gerontology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.)