Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)

Friday, January 18, 2008: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM
Blue Prefunction (Omni Shoreham)
[A/G] Factors Impacting Independence Living among Older Adults
Symposium Organizer:Marla Berg-Weger, Saint Louis University
Impact of Driving Retirement in Older Adults with Dementia
Marla Berg-Weger
Health Beliefs of Older Latinos: Barriers to Care and Independence
Anissa Rogers, PhD
Examining Informal Caregivers' Appraisal of Problematic Behaviors of Persons with Alzheimer's Disease
Carmen Morano, PhD
Abstract Text:
Aging brings a multitude of physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes that impact older adults' independence. Utilizing community resources for mobility, health care and caregiving may determine the ability of the older adult to maintain the desired level of independence. Older adults with chronic health conditions, are members of certain racial and ethnic groups and those who rely on others for care are particularly vulnerable. This symposium provides three differing perspectives on factors that influence older adults' ability to live independently. In promoting “Research That Matters” social work researchers and educators strive to translate the research on older adults into practice interventions. Understanding the complexities of older adults' physical and cognitive experiences and integrating factors that positively or negatively impact older adults and their support network is critical for training social workers to practice competently with older adults. This symposium addresses the timely gerontological research issues of: driving retirement; access to health care; and informal caregiver reactions to care-recipient behaviors. While different in focus, each speaks to an important area for social work research and education. With racial and ethnic diversity of older adults increasing and more older adults living longer with dementing illnesses, researchers need data to inform the development of theoretical models and interventions for social work practice. “Impact of Driving Retirement in Older Adults with Dementia” emphasizes the need to understand driving retirement for older adult with dementia. Findings suggest persons with dementia experience negative reactions to driving retirement, under-utilize community resources and decrease participation in social activities. As older adults are living longer and traveling more miles/year, research to guide interventions for driving retirement and mobility interventions is critical. “ Examining Informal Caregivers' Appraisal of Problematic Behaviors of Persons with Alzheimer's Disease” continues to examine dementia from the perspective of informal caregivers who are key to older adults ability to remain in the community. Reactions of African American, Hispanic and White non-Hispanic caregivers to specific behaviors of those older adults for whom they provide care are presented. Caregiver stress/burden is often the impetus for placing the older adult into a longterm care facility. Gaining insight into the behaviors perceived by informal caregivers to be burdensome can aid in developing programming and interventions to reduce the stress and enable older adults to remain in the community. “Health Beliefs of Older Latinos: Barriers to Care and Independence” shifts the focus to health care access and utilization as a key to retaining independence among older Latinos and Latino-Americans. Findings from a mixed-methodology study of beliefs and usage of traditional health care systems will be presented. The data provides insights into the complex beliefs processes that impact the ability of these groups to more effectively access and utilize the health care services that are currently available.

See more of Symposium

See more of Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)