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An experimental program for institutionalized older people : a study of response to a volunteer visiting and group recreation program in selected residential institutions for older people. Keays, Effie Kathleen

Abstract

In I960, the Junior League of Vancouver undertook a three-year exploratory program of recreation and visiting activities in selected residential institutions for the aged. The project had been suggested by the Committee on the Welfare of the Aged, a subdivision of the Social Planning Section of the Community Chest and Councils of Greater Vancouver, who were aware of the dearth of diversional resources in these institutions. The Research Department of the Community Chest and Councils of Greater Vancouver was asked by the Advisory Committee to the Junior League Senior Citizens Project to undertake an evaluative study of the program. The present study, a self-contained segment within the broad Research Department evaluation, is designed to test two related hypotheses, (a) that the level of participation in a group recreation program will be positively related to the level of previous participation in group activity, and (b) that the level of participation in a group recreation program will be inversely related to the degree of hearing" impairment. Case material as well as statistical recording is assembled to examine these questions. 34 residents of Taylor Manor, a city-owned and operated boarding home for dependent older men and women, constituted the study sample. There is strong statistical support for the first section of the hypothesis. For the second section, the data are not of statistical significance, possibly because of the limited sample size. However, examination of related factors indicates the question of a relationship between program response and impaired hearing should be considered an open one. Social Contacts is the only other variable identified which seems to have a statistically significant relationship to program response. There was inadequate statistical evidence to support the belief that the program had measurable effect upon attitudes and behaviour of Taylor Manor residents, although subjective observations and trends evident in graphs indicate the program did have positive effect upon a number of participants. A larger population with a matched control sample would be necessary before stronger conclusions could be drawn on whether program participation improved attitudes and behaviour. Some implications for community planning are drawn, and suggestions are made for future research. The possibilities of program development are discussed under four headings: community education, recruitment and training of community volunteers, programming and continuing assessment.

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