Simon Fraser University Gerontology Research Centre

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Mental fitness seminar series : highway to 2001, October 1998 to May 1999. Summary report.

Date created: 
1999
Abstract: 

During the past six years, the research and development of mentalfitness for seniors at Century House has proceeded in five phases:Phase I - Lifelong Learning Project (Needs Assessment)Phase II - Mental Fitness Research ProjectPhase III - Mental Fitness Pilot ProjectPhase IV - Mental Fitness: The Continuing ExperiencePhase V - Mental Fitness: Highway to 2001During the 1998/1999 season, Century House made a formal commitment through designation of funds for the seminar series to be continued through to the World Congress on Aging in July of 2001. All those who had participated in an introductory course were invited to travel the "Highway to 2001" together. The continuing series will be designed to:(1) deepen and extend understanding and practice of the seven skill components of mental fitness;(2) build on individual needs and interests of participants;(3) take maximum advantage of opportunities to develop and promote mental fitness that arise in the centre and wider community.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

Mental fitness for life (September 2001 - May 2002) - Summary report submitted by Sandra Cusack, Ph.D. & Wendy Thompson, M.A.to the Mental Fitness Activity Committee, Century House, New Westminster, B.C.

Date created: 
2002
Abstract: 

Most people today have grown up and are growing old with a general view of old age as a period of inevitable decline, and of old people as useless and burdens on society. Such negative attitudes and assumptions continue to haunt them, even when people know better. If you ask people what they fear most about aging, the response usually is "losing it". What is "it" that people fear losing? "It" is mental fitness. The Mental Fitness program at Century House provides compelling evidence that the mind is indeed the new frontier of aging research, and the possibilities for continuous growth and development are unlimited. What does the research say about the impact of learning on health? What is mental fitness? How do we exercise it? What are the benefits and achievements? What is the value of learning? The program consists of a series of eight intensive workshops where participants learn how old attitudes and beliefs about declining mental abilities restrict their options for a vital, healthy old age. How to change negative to positive beliefs that reflect potential for growth, how to speak the language of possibility, how to think critically and creatively, how to appreciate diversity and different perspectives, how to take risks, and how to listen to each other with renewed respect are all aspects of the program. The challenge to participants is to become mentally fit for life. A theme throughout is -- out with the old and in with new: (1) Out with the old research and knowledge, and in with the new; (2) Out with the old beliefs, and in with the new; and (3) Out with the old person, and in with the new. This report will describe the program and its benefits. For the first time, a valid and reliable screening scale for depression was used with important results that have implications for future mental fitness research and program development (Special thanks to Dr. Norm O'Rourke for providing the CES-D and to Mary Rogers, a graduate student in the Gerontology Program, for assistance with the statistics.)

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

Aging in place: Planning for the 21st century

Date created: 
1999
Abstract: 

"Aging in Place: Planning for the 21st Century" was a conference about housing, but also about planning for an aging society in the public domain. It was a conference about sustainable community-building.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

Mental fitness : a critical component of healthy aging - Summary report of a community research and development project

Date created: 
1995
Abstract: 

The purpose of the mental fitness project was to expand the role of seniors in building a healthy community by developing a group of seniors as mental fitness advocates, and working with them to define the concept of mental fitness and the components of a mental fitness program. Ultimately, our goal was to establish mental fitness as an essential component in a holistic approach to health. Objectives: (1) To explore the relationship between health and learning; (2) To train a group of seniors in public speaking and advocacy, and to support them in advocating and promoting mental fitness as a component of healthy aging; (3) To explore and clarify the concept of mental fitness through research and focus group discussion; (4) To identify the components of a program in mental fitness for seniors. The project was divided into three phases spanning a six-month period: (1) Planning and Promotion; (2) Research and Development; (3) Evaluation and Strategic Planning. PLANNING AND PROMOTION: As the project consultants, we (an adult educator and a community researcher) conducted a preliminary search of the literature during the first phase. Then, a series of planning sessions was held with a steering committee consisting of the centre's Lifelong Learning Advisory Group, the Director and Programmer, and an Adult Education Coordinator from Community Education. The purpose of the meetings was to begin to explore the concept of mental fitness, to establish a detailed work-plan, and to promote and recruit participants for the research and development phase of the project. Potential participants were invited to an introductory session which was promoted in the centre and the local newspaper.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

It's my turn now : the choice of older women to live alone

Author: 
Date created: 
1992
Abstract: 

This report details a study undertaken in Vancouver during 1990 and 1991 with funding from Health and Welfare Canada under the Seniors' Independence Program, jointly sponsored by the Vancouver Health Department and the Gerontology Research Centre at Simon Fraser University. The first objective of the research was to examine a sociological phenomenon, i.e. the increasing frequency of older women living alone, with a view to determining the predictors of wellbeing among those involved and to understanding the experience of older women in living alone. The study employed a well-proven quantitative methodology: a review of the literature was followed by development and piloting of a questionnaire; interviewers were recruited and trained; a sample of 174 elderly women was randomly drawn, interviewed and, after a follow-up activity, re-interviewed; the data were tabulated, analyzed for statistical significance, and discussed at length; reports were written and presented at conferences. The second objective of the study was to include the perspective of younger family members or friends on the living arrangement of older women. To this end, telephone interviews were carried out with 69 friends or family members recruited during the course of the original interviews.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

The last pleasure : older women and alcohol

Author: 
Date created: 
1997
Abstract: 

Presented at the 26th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, October 23-26, 1997, Calgary, AB.This paper describes why some women turn to alcohol as a coping strategy in later life, placing it within the context of a serious health and social problem for older women. It considers 1) whether existing approaches need to be revised to better meet older women's needs on late life issues and 2) whether alternate frameworks, such as women-centred care, are better able to acknowledge the diversity among women and the diversity of necessary responses.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

Leadership for the 90's : a program to train seniors to facilitate leadership.

Date created: 
1995
Abstract: 

This project represented a unique opportunity to work with senior leaders to offer a leadership training program that responds to the personal development needs of participants while offering opportunities to contribute to the leadership at the centre-i.e., a unique way to marry the talents and desires of individuals with the needs and goals of the organization. The focus of this report is on the development, implementation, and evaluation of the training program. [A copy of the model is appended]. The program was designed to address three goals with a number of expected outcome: Primary Goals: a) to promote leadership and personal development for retirees in Coquitlam; b) to train a group of seniors as "in-house workshop leaders; and c) to prepare a group of volunteer leaders to work with staff to promote, organize, and coordinate leadership opportunities through a variety of different programs to meet the needs of leaders and potential leaders.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

Living arrangements of Canada's elderly : changing demographic and economic factors

Author: 
Date created: 
1985
Abstract: 

Originally presented at the symposium "Innovations in Housing and Living Arrangements for Seniors" sponsored by the Gerontology Research Centre, Simon Fraser University and the Canadian Association on Gerontology. The objectives in organizing the symposium were to examine existing housing forms and policies in the light of current demographic and economic trends, sensitize participants to current problems with the development process as it relates to seniors housing and to examine innovative financial and physical solutions that would better meet the needs of Canada's aging population.Introduction; Demographic Considerations and Living Arrangements; Living Arrangements and Income; Living Arrangements and Shelter Expenditures; Housing Characteristics of the Elderly; Future Living Arrangements; Conclusions; References; Appendix.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

Mental fitness : the continuing experience...: Summary report

Date created: 
1998
Abstract: 

During the past five years, the research and development of mental fitness for seniors at Century House has proceeded in three distinct phases: Phase I - Lifelong Learning Project (Needs Assessment); Phase II - Mental Fitness Research Project; Phase III - Mental Fitness Pilot Project; PHASE IV: Mental Fitness: The Continuing Experience. While providing needed programs for Century House, Phase IV also presented an opportunity to address a number of additional questions related to the development of (A) a model program that would work with diverse groups of people and (B) a model for second level programming for people who have taken an introductory course. Based on our experience with the pilot program, our task was: (A) To develop, implement, and evaluate a basic model program, Introduction to Mental Fitness. (B) To develop, implement, and evaluate a series of monthly seminars, Mental Fitness: The Continuing Experience, for all those who participated in the pilot program. These two programs are experimental, part of our ongoing search for the formula for lifelong mental fitness.This report contains a descriptive evaluation of both A and B above, and rich insights concerning mental fitness, its many benefits, and how it can be most effectively developed throughout the full span of life. In the report, italics represent direct quotes of participants from either the documentation of discussions or written feedback questionnaires.

Document type: 
Book
File(s): 

Isolated elders demonstration project : closer to home - a descriptive evaluation

Author: 
Date created: 
1996
Abstract: 

The purpose of this demonstration project is to support isolated elders through outreach. The goal is to get seniors "out of their homes" and back into the community, assisting them to make decisions and take action on their own behalf. The process involved training a group of volunteers to interview elders, using a mini-life review technique to encourage reminiscence. In listening to their stories, the volunteer's task was to discover the elder's needs and barriers to socialization, and to link them to community resources. Objectives of the project were: (1) To recruit and train volunteers in interviewing and assessing need; (2) To identify isolated elders in the community; (3) To offer elders an opportunity to be connected with a peer; (4) To link elders to programs and services; (5) To reduce hospital utilization by elders over time; and (6) To evaluate the project formatively and summatively. The project spanned a 15-month period and involved an average of one day per week of the project manager's time. The process of development and evaluation satisfies the criteria for participatory research promoted by the B.C. Health Promotion Consortium-i.e., it combines community development, education, and research. The project was divided into three phases reflecting the primary focus of activities: (I) community development; (II) training volunteers; and (III) connecting elders.

Document type: 
Book
File(s):