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

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How Family-Friendly Are Workplace Policies? A Critical Synthesis of the Literature

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-07-26
Abstract: 

This capstone project provides a critical synthesis of literature examining family-friendly workplace policies with a focus on Canada and the U.S. The review covers the caregiving context, health, stress and well-being, job satisfaction of family caregivers, and the effects of these policies on the organizational structure of the workplace. The literature is assessed against the backdrop of a feminist political economy framework. A number of policy issues are identified and critically reviewed, and several recommendations that could potentially benefit both the caregiver and the employer are discussed. These include: reducing organizational barriers for the adoption of family-friendly policies, enhancing flexibility in the work lives of caregivers, increasing government funding of work-life balance policies, and supporting technological innovation. Future research is needed to better understand the barriers to policy adoption, best practices in family-friendly approaches, as well as comprehensive evaluation of the intended and unintended consequences of current and emerging policies.

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

The relationship between residential school attendance and health status in later life among First Nation elders in B.C.

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No, item is not peer reviewed.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

This project provides an exploratory examination of the relationship between residential school attendance and health status in later life among First Nation Elders in B.C. The sample population (n = 539) was obtained from regional data collected during the First Nation and Inuit Regional Health Survey in 1997. It is hypothesized that attendance at a residential school will result in negative health outcomes in later life. In addition, a further hypothesis is that there will be familial effects of attendance at the residential school system.

To date, most research into the impact of residential school experiences have been of a qualitative nature that focuses primarily on the inter-generational, psycho-social effects of the system. This project is an attempt to fill in the existing gaps in the literature, specifically in relation to the quantitative perspective. A theoretical framework, which draws upon aspects from the Life Course Theory and Population Health perspective, is used to examine the relationship between residential school attendance and health status in later life.

In order to test the two hypotheses, five main dependent variables are investigated in the analyses. They are "tuberculosis", "high blood pressure", "heart problems", "perceived health", and an additive "illness scale". Four residential school variables were used in the analyses: "did you attend", "years attended", "brother attended" and "sister attended" along with five sociodemographic covariates. A bivariate analysis was conducted with the five dependent variables, the residential school variables and the socio-demographic variables (see page 51 for a summary). Support was not found for hypothesis iiione at the bivariate level, however, there was partial support for hypothesis two, which states that there will be familial effects of residential school attendance. The two hypotheses were further tested at the multivariate level using a logistic regression and linear regression analysis. Ten hierarchical models were tested in the multivariate analyses. The multivariate analyses reveal a positive relationship between health status and residential school attendance (see page 55 for summary). "Years attended" residential school was found to be positively associated with "tuberculosis" yet negatively associated with "heart problems". The independent variable "brother attended" residential school was a predictor for "tuberculosis", "high blood pressure and for the additive "illness scale" variable.

In summary, there was partial support for an association between the residential school experience occurring in early life and the health status of First Nation people in later life. Stronger analyses are found for familial effects on health through the attendance of siblings. These findings support a life course - developmental perspective. However, the limitations of this study and preliminary nature of this initial analysis of these residential school data suggest that further work is needed before final conclusions as to the causal relationship between health status and residential school attendance can be ascertained. Gerontological research must include additional research and theoretical development that encompasses all of the unique aspects of First Nation health and aging, including the residential school experience.

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

“Can I reach the tissue box?”: A literature synthesis on the role of location and interior built environment in independent grocery shopping by older adults

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-04-22
Abstract: 

The design of community and built environments is integrally linked to independence, participation, and mobility for older adults. This capstone project reviews literature that explores the accessibility of grocery stores based on their location within the community and their interior built environments. The results indicate a trend towards fewer grocery stores in areas of low SES and population density, and they identify barriers and facilitators related to shelving, signage, labels, way finding, aisles, lighting, noise level, flooring, shopping carts, in store seating, lighting, and check outs. The evidence highlights issues such as income, availability of transportation, the utility of universal design features, to promote independence in grocery shopping for older adults who wish to age in place. This paper builds upon Lawton and Nahemow’s Ecological model of Aging and proposes a conceptual model that shows how location and interior-built environments are linked to independent grocery shopping.

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

The impact of outdoor environments on health and well-being of residents in long-term care facilities: A review of the literature

Date created: 
2015-12-09
Abstract: 

This capstone project entails a literature review focusing on the influence of outdoor nature settings on health and well-being for residents in long-term care facilities. This review identifies key evidence-based benefits and barriers to garden use for residents and design guidelines for outdoor spaces in the empirical and descriptive literature. In recent years, there is a growing recognition of the importance to shift from the medical model-of-care to a holistic person-centered care approach. Well-designed outdoor environments can play an important role in creation of a person-centered care environment. Empirical evidence supports a wide range of health and well-being benefits from nature environment exposure. These include improvements to residents’ agitation, stress, depression, pain, psychosocial well-being, sleep and circadian rhythm, attention restoration, social interaction, independence, sense of purpose, wandering behaviour, reminiscence, and sensory stimulation.

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

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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
Atiya Mahmood
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Gerontology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.