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Journal article

Who benefits from volunteering? Variations in perceived benefits

Authors:
MORROW-HOWELL Nancy, HONG Song-Lee, TANG Fengyan
Journal article citation:
Gerontologist, 49(1), February 2009, pp.91-102.
Publisher:
Gerontological Society of America

The purpose of this study was to document the benefits of volunteering perceived by older adults and to explain variation in these self-perceived benefits. This is a quantitative study of 13 volunteer programs in the US and 401 older adults serving in those programs. Program directors completed telephone interviews, and older volunteers completed mailed surveys. Volunteer-level and program-level data were merged. Older volunteers reported a wide variety of benefits to the people they served, themselves, their families, and communities. More than 30% reported that they were "a great deal better off" because of volunteering, and almost 60% identified a benefit to their families. When considering only individual characteristics, lower-income and lower-educated volunteers reported more benefit. Yet, aspects of the volunteer experience, like amount of involvement, adequacy of training and ongoing support, and stipends, were more important in understanding who benefits from volunteering. These findings suggest that characteristics of volunteer programs can be strengthened to maximize the benefits of volunteering to older adults. These characteristics are more mutable by public policies and organizational procedures than individual characteristics. Focusing on the recruitment of lower socioeconomic status older adults may result in an increase in benefits from the growth of volunteering.

Journal article

Increasing older adults' benefits from institutional capacity of volunteer programs

Authors:
HONG Song-Iee, MORROW-HOWELL Nancy
Journal article citation:
Social Work Research, 37(2), 2013, pp.99-108.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

This study examines the extent to which the institutional capacity of volunteer programs explained variations in older adults' self-perceived psychosocial benefits. This quantitative study analysed 401 older adults serving in 13 volunteer programs across the United States. Individual volunteer-level characteristics (sociodemographics and volunteer experience) and program-level characteristics (flexibility, recognition, incentives) were collected. Program directors provided information about program characteristics via telephone interviews, and older volunteers in those programs completed mailed surveys. Variation in perceived benefits was associated with both individual- and program-level factors. Of six dimensions of institutional capacity, role flexibility and recognition had significant associations with higher levels of benefits reported by the volunteers. Also, incentives in the form of monetary compensation, like for petol or meals, offered by programs increased the benefits from volunteering. These findings suggest that characteristics of programs can maximize the benefits that older adults gain from volunteering. Therefore, public policies and program development that increase the institutional capacity of volunteer programs are warranted. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Involvement in voluntary organizations: how older adults access volunteer roles?

Authors:
TANG Fengyan, MORROW-HOWELL Nancy
Journal article citation:
Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 51(3-4), 2008, pp.210-227.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

This article examines the potential role for older volunteers in the light of the growing demand for social services and diminishing public funding, and looks at the type of people who become volunteers. US Census data is analysed and older volunteers were found to be likely to be in employment, have fewer household members, and were more likely to volunteer firstly for religious organisations, followed by social service, health and educational institutions. The article also examines how social workers recruit and work with these volunteers who are becoming an increasingly valuable resource.

Journal article

Institutional facilitation in sustained volunteering among older adult volunteers

Authors:
TANG Fengyan, MORROW-HOWELL Nancy, HONG Songiee
Journal article citation:
Social Work Research, 33(3), September 2009, pp.172-182.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

As more nonprofit organizations rely on older adult volunteers to provide services, it is important to retain volunteers for an extended period of time to ensure service quality and the beneficial outcomes of volunteering. Nonprofit organizations are positioned to facilitate older adult volunteers' role performance. Based on an institutional perspective on volunteering, this study explored what institutional facilitations are needed for sustained volunteering. The sample included 401 older adult volunteers from 13 programs across the United States. Data were collected by means of self-administrated questionnaires. Institutional facilitation was captured by volunteer role flexibility, incentive, role recognition, and training. With volunteers' age controlled for, two-level hierarchical linear models were used to assess the relationship between volunteer duration (level 1 variables) and institutional facilitation (level 2 variables) in the volunteer program. Results demonstrated that a higher level of volunteering duration was associated with institutional facilitation factors of more role recognition and more training hours. Duration was also associated with less incentive. These findings suggest that certain facilitators from organizations contribute to an extended period of commitment among older adult volunteers.

Journal article

Research priorities for Gerontological social work: researcher and practitioner perspectives

Authors:
MORROW-HOWELL Nancy, BURNETTE Denise, CHEN Li-Mei
Journal article citation:
Social Work Research, 29(4), December 2005, pp.231-242.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

This article describes a Delphi study to identify research priorities of gerontological social work practitioners and to compare these priorities with those of social work academic researchers. A national expert panel of 52 gerontological social work practitioners from the United States completed questionnaires to delimit a set of high-priority research topics. Findings were compared with a similar Delphi study conducted with academic social work researchers. The researcher panel and the practitioner panel endorsed a need for intervention research. Practitioners also identified several unique priorities, including income security and long-term care policies, decision making, and planning for later life. The authors suggest four substantive areas (housing and transitions in living arrangements, family caregiving, health and mental health, and workforce) and four cross cutting themes (intervention research, social policy, service delivery, and capacity building) as a potential organizing framework for a research agenda for gerontological social work.

Journal article

Gerontological social work research: current status and future directions

Authors:
MORROW-HOWELL Nancy, BURNETTE Denise
Journal article citation:
Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 36(3/4), 2001, pp.63-79.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

This article assesses the current state of gerontological social work research in the USA and suggests future directions for the field. Argues that social workers are not adequately represented among researchers supported by public and private funds.

Journal article

The perceived benefits of participating in volunteer and educational activities

Authors:
MORROW-HOWELL Nancy, KINNEVY Susan, MANN Marylen
Journal article citation:
Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 32(2), 1999, pp.65-80.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

Outlines a programme evaluation of OASIS, a national non-profit organisation in the USA, which provides educational and volunteer opportunities to people over the age of 55. The survey results indicated that older adults perceive that they benefit from participation in these activities.

Journal article

Inclusion of diverse older populations in volunteering: the importance of institutional facilitation

Authors:
TANG Fengyan, MORROW-HOWELL Nancy, HONG Songiee
Journal article citation:
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 38(5), October 2009, pp.810-827.
Publisher:
Sage

This is the second part of a study of the institutional capacity of 51 programs recruiting older volunteers in the United States. The importance of institutional facilitation of older adults, especially those of lower socio-economic status, to 13 of these programs was assessed by focusing on 374 volunteers, aged 60 or over, across 9 states. A self-administered questionnaire collected information about their experiences as volunteers, using institutional facilitators such as activity choice, time, schedule, responsibility level, workload, compensation, transportation, recognition and accommodation as measures as well as volunteer socio-demographics. Items regarding role flexibility were found to be important, with activity choice and setting of own schedule key. Respondents, especially non-White and low income, advised that accommodation, of a health condition for example, was important as well as being recognised, having expenses compensated and receiving a stipend. This study suggests that voluntary organisations could recruit and sustain helpers from the over 60’s from more diverse backgrounds by increasing their levels of flexibility, compensation and recognition. As baby boomers age there will be a greater potential for volunteering among the older population and to marshal this resource towards community need and ensure those volunteering come from all walks of life, voluntary organisations must, say the authors, fine tune their methods to make volunteering attractive to all and not elitist.

Journal article

Assessing unmet needs of older adults receiving home and community-based services conceptualization and measurement

Authors:
LI Hong, MORROW-HOWELL Nancy, PROCTOR Enola
Journal article citation:
Journal of Social Work in Long-Term Care, 3(3/4), 2005, pp.103-120.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
London

This American study reviews the conceptualization and measurement issues related to unmet service needs of older adults receiving home and community-based services. The authors summarize and synthesize the recent literature on unmet service needs to examine (1) how this concept is conceptualized and measured and (2) how this concept could be used to advance the provision of home and community-based services. The findings suggest that measures of unmet needs varied in terms of their focus (e.g., function-specific or service-specific) and sources of information (e.g., care receivers, caregivers, or professions). The findings underscore the need to further refine the conceptualization and measurement of unmet service needs and to assure the proper use of existing measures by social service providers. (Copies of this article are available from: Haworth Document Delivery Centre, Haworth Press Inc., 10 Alice Street,  Binghamton, NY 13904-1580).

Journal article

How much is enough? Perspectives of care recipients and professional on the sufficiency of in-home care

Authors:
MORROW-HOWELL Nancy, PROCTOR Enola, ROZARIO Philip
Journal article citation:
Gerontologist, 41(6), December 2001, pp.723-732.
Publisher:
Gerontological Society of America

This American study aims to increase knowledge about the impact of rater role on the assessment of in-home supportive care. The authors compared the perspectives of care recipients and professionals on one aspect of the broad concept of quality of care in home care the sufficiency of the amount of care provided by informal and formal caregivers. Sufficiency of home care was assessed through concurrent elderly persons' self-reports through telephone interview and nurse clinical reports based on in-home interviews with the elder. Results found professional ratings of the sufficiency of care recipients. From the perspective of both care recipients and professionals, sufficiency of care was significantly related to coresidence of elder and caregiver, and to caregiver health.

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