Date

2019-03-22

Document Type

Poster

Description

In October 2015, Buzzards Bay Speech Therapy and Coastline Elderly Services, Inc, collaborated to address concerns regarding healthy aging in New Bedford. According to the 2014 Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report, New Bedford scored lowest in the state with regard to healthy aging, with 31 health indicators worse than the state average, including depression, mental illness, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Recognizing that these indicators can lead to social isolation and further exacerbate health concerns, we developed a program focusing on cognitive wellness in order to enhance social engagement. The goal of the program is to provide evidenced based interventions to adults in order to improve social connectedness, sense of well-being, and communicative effectiveness in order to decrease social isolation, depressive symptoms and caregiver burden. The program uses class-based instruction and lively activities to educate and engage participants while practicing tips and techniques to improve thinking, memory, communication and socialization skills. Quantitative and qualitative outcome data collected from 2015-present reveals that classes are effective at decreasing social isolation, encouraging the formation/renewal of friendships and the trying of new things, and improving confidence in communication skills. Additionally, data reflects that the factor most susceptible to change following participation in our classes is a feeling of optimism, born out of camaraderie within the class, gains in self-confidence and self-acceptance, and motivation to improve. Currently we are initiating Participatory Action to enhance community engagement, expand programming, and identify resources that may be available/created in order to improve cognitive wellness and decrease social isolation.

Keywords

healthy aging, social isolation, social engagement, depression, mental illness, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, cognitive wellness, participatory action

DOI

10.13028/d3yw-7b90

Rights and Permissions

Copyright the Author(s)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Mar 22nd, 12:00 PM

Decreasing Social Isolation in Adults via a Cognitive Wellness Program

In October 2015, Buzzards Bay Speech Therapy and Coastline Elderly Services, Inc, collaborated to address concerns regarding healthy aging in New Bedford. According to the 2014 Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report, New Bedford scored lowest in the state with regard to healthy aging, with 31 health indicators worse than the state average, including depression, mental illness, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Recognizing that these indicators can lead to social isolation and further exacerbate health concerns, we developed a program focusing on cognitive wellness in order to enhance social engagement. The goal of the program is to provide evidenced based interventions to adults in order to improve social connectedness, sense of well-being, and communicative effectiveness in order to decrease social isolation, depressive symptoms and caregiver burden. The program uses class-based instruction and lively activities to educate and engage participants while practicing tips and techniques to improve thinking, memory, communication and socialization skills. Quantitative and qualitative outcome data collected from 2015-present reveals that classes are effective at decreasing social isolation, encouraging the formation/renewal of friendships and the trying of new things, and improving confidence in communication skills. Additionally, data reflects that the factor most susceptible to change following participation in our classes is a feeling of optimism, born out of camaraderie within the class, gains in self-confidence and self-acceptance, and motivation to improve. Currently we are initiating Participatory Action to enhance community engagement, expand programming, and identify resources that may be available/created in order to improve cognitive wellness and decrease social isolation.

 

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