Abstract of M.H. Kloseck Lecture


M.H. Kloseck, R.G. Crilly
University of Western OntarioCanada

Disabilities associated with aging bring a great challenge to remaining
independent. Naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs)
have tremendous potential to optimize the health, safety and
independence of older individuals. We used a community capacity
building and participatory action research approach with a local NORC
1) to develop a model intersectoral collaborative partnership among
seniors, government, non-profit and private organizations to enable
seniors to both learn and teach their peers about disability, disease
and safety, 2) to maximize the positive collective abilities, resilience
and resourcefulness of seniors to work collectively to improve their
well-being, and 3) to develop seniors' knowledge and skills to create
vital learning communities of seniors with increased understanding of
their disabilities, improved understanding of each other’s challenges
and a better knowledge of community resources. We hypothesized
that actively engaging seniors in raising awareness, identifying
neighbours at risk and peer-led senior-friendly education programs
would optimize resources and increase individual and community
resilience. The Cherryhill NORC is a compact high density apartment
complex with 13 private apartment buildings with 2325 units and total
population of 2925 citizens (mean age=76yrs. + 8.08 yrs. SD; 77%
female, 23% male). We tested our peer-mentor/education model in 3
demonstration projects (1) optimizing mobility, (2) improving the
treatment of osteoporosis, and (3) preparing for emergency situations.
Our results show there is strength in a collective community approach
to enable individuals with disabilities of aging and frailty to remain in
their own homes as long as possible.

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