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Journal article

Elderly volunteering and psychological well-being

Author:
HO Hua-Chin
Journal article citation:
International Social Work, 60(4), 2017, pp.1028-1038.
Publisher:
Sage

This study was designed to construct a model based on the concept of psychological well-being, in order to verify the relationship between Taiwanese elderly volunteering and their psychological well-being. Research data were collected via a questionnaire administered to the target population of this study, senior residents of Pingtung County aged 65 or more. The data were then tested and verified by confirmative factor analysis and structural equation modelling. The overall model showed higher levels of psychological well-being for the elderly who participated in volunteer work than those who did not, which again confirmed the positive relation between volunteer work and psychological well-being. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

The will-to-live scale: development, validation, and significance for elderly people

Author:
CARMEL Sara
Journal article citation:
Aging and Mental Health, 21(3), 2017, pp.289-296.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

Objectives: In old age, the will-to-live (WTL) is one of the most important indicators of subjective well-being (SWB). However, few studies to date have focused on WTL. In these studies, WTL has mainly been evaluated via indirect questions concerning factors that may influence peoples’ WTL, or by measures directed to patients with specific diseases. The current study describes the development and psychometric properties of a new WTL scale. Method: The five-item WTL scale was developed on the basis of previous qualitative and quantitative research, and was evaluated in a longitudinal study of a random sample of 868 adults, aged 75+. Results: Confirmatory factor analytic (CFA) models were computed showing that each of the five items contributed significantly to measurement of a single WTL latent factor. Goodness-of-fit statistics were in ideal parameters for these CFA models at each point of data collection. Moreover, temporal analyses indicated that the relative contribution to measurement for each item was equivalent across time, attesting to reliability of measurement and the construct validity of WTL measurement. Concurrent validity was supported by significant positive correlations between WTL and life satisfaction, happiness, self-rated health, morale, self-rated aging, and, as expected, by inverse associations of WTL with depression and loneliness. Conclusion: The results of these analyses indicate that the WTL scale is a valid and reliable instrument. Considering the importance of the WTL concept in late life, and the psychometric properties of the WTL scale, the authors recommend it for use in research and practice related to older adults’ SWB and end-of-life care. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Garden visiting as a meaningful occupation for people in later life

Authors:
LEAVER Rosemary, WISEMAN Tania
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 79(12), 2016, pp.768-775.
Publisher:
College of Occupational Therapists

Introduction: Garden visiting, as described in this study, involves visiting private gardens which householders have temporarily opened to the public, in support of charity. In the United Kingdom, garden visiting is a popular occupation which attracts 750,000 people each year. The connections between active gardening and wellbeing are well established, particularly for people in later life. This research explores visiting other people’s gardens for leisure in order to deepen our understanding of how garden visiting is experienced as an occupation. Method: Seven people aged between 60 and 81 years old who considered themselves fully retired were interviewed whilst walking through parks and public gardens. Thematic analysis with inductive coding was used to analyse the data. Findings: Four themes emerged: time and wellbeing, embodied wellbeing, being part of a gardening community and pondering the creator. Conclusion: Garden visiting is a complex occupation which brings far-reaching benefits to individuals and communities. Garden visiting also has important implications for increasing wellbeing by grounding people in the present and promoting sensory engagement. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Home visits by commissioned welfare volunteers and psychological distress: a population-based study of 11,312 community-dwelling older people in Japan

Authors:
NOGUCHI Masayuki, et al
Journal article citation:
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 30(12), 2015, pp.1156-1163.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

Objective: Social support is a resource for the older people that effectively reduces psychological distress, with or without specialised health service provision. This cross-sectional study was conducted to determine whether home visits by commissioned welfare volunteers (organisations of community residents assigned by national or local governments) are associated with a lower risk of psychological distress among the older people. Methods: Questionnaires were sent in August 2010 to all residents aged ≥65 years in three municipalities (n = 21,232) in Okayama Prefecture in Japan; 13,929 were returned (response rate = 65.6%). The final sample size for the analysis was 11,312 participants. Home visits, psychological distress (Kessler Psychological Distress Scale: K6 > 5), and severe psychological distress (K6 > 13) were measured by the questionnaire. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for psychological distress, adjusting for age, gender, education, marital status, and qualification for long-term care insurance. Results: The prevalence was 41.4% for psychological distress and 6.5% for severe psychological distress among all participants. Home visits were significantly associated with a lower risk of psychological distress after adjusting for the covariates. These associations were comparable for men and women. The association was clearer for severe psychological distress. Conclusions: Home visits by commissioned welfare volunteers are significantly associated with a lower risk of psychological distress among older people (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article Full text available online for free

Examining associations between sexual behaviours and quality of life in older adults

Authors:
FLYNN Taylor-Jane, GOW Alan J.
Journal article citation:
Age and Ageing, 44(5), 2015, pp.823-828.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

Background: While sexual behaviours are potentially important for quality of life in older adults, they are under-researched. The current study examined associations between frequency and importance of sexual behaviours and quality of life in older adults. Method: One hundred and thirty-three participants (mean 74 years, SD = 7.1) provided information about the frequency with which they participated in six sexual behaviours and the perceived importance of these: touching/holding hands, embracing/hugging, kissing, mutual stroking, masturbating and intercourse. Participants also completed the WHO Quality of Life scale, providing an overall quality of life score, in addition to the domains of physical health, psychological health, social relationships and environment. Participants provided information on their marital status, living arrangements and self-reported health. Results: Both the frequency and importance of sexual behaviours were moderately positively correlated with quality of life (r = 0.52 and 0.47, respectively, both P < 0.001). In separate regression analyses, the frequency of sexual behaviours was a significant predictor of quality of life in the social relationships domain (β = 0.225, P < 0.05), and the importance of sexual behaviours was associated with the psychological domain (β = 0.151, P < 0.05), independent of the presence of a spouse/partner and self-reported health. Conclusions: With ageing trends, a broader understanding of the factors that influence quality of life in older adults is increasingly important. The current findings suggest that aspects of sexual behaviour and quality of life were positively associated. Researchers are encouraged to consider aspects of sex and sexuality when exploring determinants of well-being in later life. (Publisher abstract)

Book Full text available online for free

Insights into loneliness, older people and wellbeing, 2015

Author:
THOMAS Jennifer
Publisher:
Office for National Statistics
Publication year:
2015
Pagination:
10
Place of publication:
Newport

This article focuses on older people's well-being, loneliness and some of the risk factors associated with loneliness such as living alone, housing tenure, marital status, ill health and support networks. The ONS Measuring National Well-being programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation - how the UK as a whole is doing. This analysis shows that older people are more satisfied with life generally and with their social networks and the support they provide. This may be due to having lower expectations due to a cohort effect or more mature perspectives but ultimately they are more content than their younger counterparts. However, the impact of loneliness on well-being is considerable, especially for the oldest old who are most likely to feel lonely and are subject to a high number of risk factors. The paper argues that the UK needs to consider how to minimise some of the impact that risk factors of loneliness has, particularly bereavement, poor health, and housing tenure. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening for older adults

Authors:
SCOTT Theresa L., MASSER Barbara M., PACHANA Nancy A.
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 35(10), 2015, pp.2176-2200.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

Research shows that contact with nature plays a vital role in our psychological wellbeing. Domestic gardening is common among older adults who spend more leisure hours gardening than any other age group. Despite this, few studies have systematically explored the significance of domestic gardens in relation to older adults' health and wellbeing. This study examined the perceived therapeutic benefits of gardening, and the effect of ageing in relation to older gardeners' continued participation in gardening, using quantitative and qualitative data from a survey of Australian older adult gardeners (N=331). The quantitative data, which included frequencies, were analysed using the PASW Statistics 18.0 package. The qualitative data, which included participants' responses to open questions, were analysed by deriving themes via Leximancer, an innovative text analytics software that uses word association information to elicit concepts, extracting the most important and grouping these according to themes. In relation to the reasons for gardening, several themes were identified including valuing the aesthetics of gardens, connecting with nature, achievement, and physical and mental activity. The benefits of gardening, and the variety of ways that respondents had adapted or modified their gardening activities in order to continue, are also reported. Gardening was more than a casual leisure pursuit for these participants, who saw it as critical to their physical and psychological wellbeing. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Does life satisfaction predict five-year mortality in community-living older adults?

Authors:
ST. JOHN Philip D., MACKENZIE Corey, MENEC Verena
Journal article citation:
Aging and Mental Health, 19(4), 2015, pp.363-370.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

Objectives: Depression and depressive symptoms predict death, but it is less clear if more general measures of life satisfaction (LS) predict death. This study aimed to determine: (1) if LS predicts mortality over a five-year period in community-living older adults; and (2) which aspects of LS predict death. Method: 1751 adults over the age of 65 who were living in the community were sampled from a representative population sampling frame in 1991/1992 and followed five years later. Age, gender, and education were self-reported. An index of multimorbidity and the Older American Resource Survey measured health and functional status, and the Terrible–Delightful Scale assessed overall LS as well as satisfaction with: health, finances, family, friends, housing, recreation, self-esteem, religion, and transportation. Cox proportional hazards models examined the influence of LS on time to death. Results: 417 participants died during the five-year study period. Overall LS and all aspects of LS except finances, religion, and self-esteem predicted death in unadjusted analyses. In fully adjusted analyses, LS with health, housing, and recreation predicted death. Other aspects of LS did not predict death after accounting for functional status and multimorbidity. Conclusion: LS predicted death, but certain aspects of LS are more strongly associated with death. The effect of LS is complex and may be mediated or confounded by health and functional status. It is important to consider different domains of LS when considering the impact of this important emotional indicator on mortality among older adults. (Edited publisher abstract)

Digital Media Full text available online for free

Working together with older people

Authors:
UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON, AGE UK BRIGHTON AND HOVE
Publishers:
University of Brighton, Age UK Brighton & Hove
Publication year:
2013
Pagination:
6 minutes 46 seconds
Place of publication:
Brighton

One of six films made as part of an ESRC funded participatory research project which explored what well-being means to older people and how it is generated. The research was carried out by a team of older people, university researchers and a voluntary sector manager. In this film the older people who took part in this research reflect on their experiences. The researchers discuss what they learnt about working with older people to do this research and suggest that this is useful in other contexts where groups of older people come together and share their experience and knowledge to shape services. The film is a scripted scenario based on interviews. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Being well, being musical: music composition as a resource and occupation for older people

Authors:
HABRON John, et al
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(7), 2013, pp.308-316.
Publisher:
College of Occupational Therapists

In a community music project undertaken by Manchester Camerata (a chamber orchestra), Blacon Community Trust and a small group of older adults, participants were given the opportunity to compose individual pieces of music interactively with professional musicians. An arts-based research method was adopted and incorporated action research and interpretive interactionism to articulate the experiences and perceptions of participants. Participants and Manchester Camerata musicians also worked together to represent the thematic findings of the research in a group composition. The findings demonstrate that individual and group music composition contributed to a sense of wellbeing through control over musical materials, opportunities for creativity and identity making, validation of life experience and social engagement with other participants and professional musicians. The results emphasised occupation as essential to health and wellbeing in the later stages of life. The findings also highlight the particularly innovative aspects of this research: (i) the use of music composition as a viable arts-in-health occupation for older people and (ii) the arts-based research method of group composition. (Edited publisher abstract)

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