‘Although we’re isolated, we’re not really isolated’: The value of information and communication technology for older people in rural Australia
/ Turi Berg, Rachel Winterton, Maree Petersen and Jeni Warburton — Objective: Drawing from a larger study that identified the supports and services that facilitate wellness among older people from rural communities, this study examined the specific contribution made by information and communication technology (ICT). Methods: Qualitative interviews were undertaken with 60 older adults from six Australian rural areas. A preliminary thematic analysis was conducted, followed by a higher-order inductive analysis. Results: Information and communication technology use was discussed in terms of individual enrichment, and in terms of enabling connections between the individual and their social networks, community and wider service environments. Conclusion:Information and communication technologies may facilitate wellness for rural older people by compensating for geographical and social isolation. In the changing world of health and aged care service delivery, ICTs will be more important than ever for rural older people in building their capacity to access the services, socialisation and support that they need, regardless of location.
Indigenous Ageing Research Feature
Integrative review of older adult loneliness and social isolation in Aotearoa/New Zealand
/ Valerie A Wright-St Clair, Stephen Neville, Vanessa Forsyth, Lindsey White and Sara Napier [open access @27 June 2017] — Objective: To conduct an integrative review of empirical studies of loneliness for older people in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Loneliness is a risk factor for older people’s poor physical and cognitive health, serious illness and mortality. A national survey showed loneliness rates vary by gender and ethnicity. Methods: A systematic search of health and social science databases was conducted. Of 21 scrutinised articles, nine were eligible for inclusion and subjected to independent quality appraisal. One qualitative and eight quantitative research articles were selected. Results: Reported levels and rates of loneliness vary across age cohorts. Loneliness was significantly related to social isolation, living alone, depression, suicidal ideation, being female, being M?ori and having a visual impairment. Qualitatively, older Korean immigrants experienced loneliness and social isolation, along with language and cultural differences. Conclusion: Amongst older New Zealanders loneliness is commonly experienced by particular ethnic groups, highlighting a priority for targetted health and social services.
Community care for Indigenous older people: An update / Melissa A Lindeman, Kate Smith, Dina LoGiudice and Mark Elliott — In this brief paper, we outline some important messages in the literature pertaining to community care for Indigenous older people. Such literature has been scarce until relatively recently. These key messages are particularly important as aged care sector reforms are implemented. We highlight significant research findings concerning health, care preferences and service delivery challenges for the provision of community care for this population group. To be successful, a service needs to be relevant, and to be relevant, services need to take a community development approach in their development and ongoing management.
Role of art centres for Aboriginal Australians living with dementia in remote communities
/ Melissa Lindeman, Paulene Mackell, Xiaoping Lin, Annie Farthing, Heather Jensen, Maree Meredith and Betty Haralambous — Objective: To explore the role art centres in remote communities play for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians living with dementia. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was undertaken, with no restrictions on articles regarding year of publication. Results: Art programmes have been found to be of benefit to both people living with dementia and their carers, particularly when programmes are administered in environments that are culturally revered. Findings indicate remote art centres play a key role in maintaining traditions, culture and practices unique to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, but there is a gap in knowledge regarding how they cater for the needs of people with dementia. Conclusion: Addressing this gap will be helpful in remote areas where prevalence of dementia is up to five times that of non-Aboriginal people, and there are limited health and support services. Further research is required to explore strengths and gaps of current practices.
Arts and cultural activity: A vital part of the health and care system
/ Paul L Cann — This article discusses how the arts and cultural activities are a vital part of a health and care system and have potential to fulfil the theme of active ageing. The changing nature of care provision in response to demographic change, fiscal pressure and increasingly consumerist attitudes on the part of care users, is considered. Selected examples of how participation in arts and cultural activities increases not only well-being but also health outcomes are then outlined. The article highlights the potential of ‘cultural commissioning’ and within that ‘arts on prescription’ – public funding of arts-related activities for people with care needs – and advocates investment in arts and cultural activities to better meet the demands of health, social care and aged care. Concluding remarks are made, and a way forward is suggested.
Meaningful use of computers has a potential therapeutic and preventative role in dementia care: A systematic review
/ Jimmy Liapis and Katherine E Harding — Objective: Personal computers provide an increasingly accessible resource for leisure, social engagement and activities of daily living. This systematic review aimed to explore preventative or therapeutic benefits of such technology in people at risk of, or living with, dementia. Methods: A systematic search of health databases combined key concepts of dementia and computer use. Inclusion criteria were applied, studies appraised for quality and results synthesised descriptively. Results: Nine studies met inclusion criteria: Four population-based studies and five small observational/intervention studies. Findings show an association between computer use in older age and decreased risk of dementia and provide preliminary evidence that computer-based activity interventions are feasible and enjoyable for people with dementia. Conclusion: Early findings are promising, but more rigorous studies are required to examine the nature of the relationship between computer use and dementia risk, and the potential of computer activities to improve outcomes for people experiencing cognitive decline.
SOURCE: Wiley Online Library. “Australasian Journal on Ageing.” Wiley iFirst [website viewed 27 June 2017]