Promoting Healthy Aging through "Elder-Healer" Training
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant):
Research in healthy aging has determined that interpersonal connectedness and sense of meaning and life purpose are important predictors of well-being in the elderly. This Phase I SBIR application is to test the feasibility of a novel approach to strengthening these qualities in a sample of community-dwelling elders. Subjects will be trained in a standardized regime of touch therapy techniques commonly used in holistic nursing and hospice care, and will practice the skills through volunteer service or providing support to others in their natural social networks. Aim 1: Determine the longitudinal within-subject effects of the intervention on sense of meaningful life, sense of belonging, emotional well-being, and functional quality of life in a sample of elders living in the community, assessed as individuals. Aim 2: Stratify the sample into subgroups to identify markers that predict who is most likely and who is least likely to benefit from the intervention. Aim 3: Identify barriers and facilitators of utilization of the techniques taught in the intervention. Achieving the above aims will support testing of the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: There will be significant improvements in sense of meaningful life, sense of belonging, emotional well-being, and functional quality of life for subjects in the intervention phase compared to the control phase. Hypothesis 2: Frequency of use of the intervention techniques with others will predict subjects' levels of meaningful life, sense of belonging, emotional well-being, and functional quality of life. Sample: 60 elders (age 60+) living in the Boston area. Method: We will use a longitudinal, within-subjects, control and intervention phases design employing statistical methodologies that provide insights into the data that are not afforded by traditional methods (N-of- 1 "pre-processing"; screening the data prior to combining individual subjects into composite groups; and hierarchically optimal classification tree analysis). Pre- and post focus groups will provide qualitative data on barriers and facilitators of utilization of the training, phenomenology of the intervention, and critique for future refinement. Long-term goal: A Phase II study would develop a multimedia approach to the training for popular consumption by elders. The goal is an educational program that is evidence-based, inspirational, and accessible to the growing mass market of elders seeking meaning and connection through service.
Small Business Information at Submission:
COLLINGE AND ASSOCIATES
COLLINGE AND ASSOCIATES 9 MOORE'S ISLAND LN KITTERY POINT, ME 03905
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