160026 Designing and implementing the Aging and Communications Training (ACT) project

Monday, November 5, 2007: 9:15 AM

Patricia M. Alt, PhD , Towson University, Towson, MD
Tracy Gibbs , Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, Baltimore, MD
Robert L. Bertera, DrPH, CHES , Evaluation Research, Silver Spring, MD
Russell M. Morgan, DrPH , SPRY Foundation, President, Chevy Chase, MD
Elizabeth M. Bertera, MSW, PhD , Howard University, Washington, DC, DC
As baby boomers age, and Americans live longer, there is increasing need to help older adults age successfully in their community. To address this goal, the ACT project enhances the professionalism of direct care employees and volunteers; enabling them to better serve independent-living older adults of varying ages, cultures, mental capacities, and socioeconomic levels. This project was planned and implemented by the SPRY Foundation, in partnership with Baltimore City's Commission on Aging and Retirement Education (CARE) and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4A), with Retirement Research Foundation funding. Building on a baseline study of key community informant interviews and stakeholder focus groups, and on current literature on aging, the training curriculum was developed with particular focus on skills for communicating with older adults and stress management. Three groups (senior center assistants and volunteers, Meals on Wheels meal deliverers, and entry-level case managers) were trained, with oversight by CARE, SPRY, and the grant's Advisory Committee. A pretest-posttest and follow-up assessment were used to measure aging and communications knowledge, beliefs, and self-efficacy. After the field test with direct care workers in Baltimore, the training program will be disseminated nationally, beginning with train-the-trainer sessions for fourteen master trainers from around the country at the national n4A meeting in July, 2007. Policy and program implications of seeking to work through Area Agencies on Aging to improve the skills of direct care workers will be discussed in terms of the results from the field test and the national dissemination process.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize key areas of communications training for those working with older adults. 2. Describe the development and implementation of the ACT communications training project at the local and national level. 3. Analyze the ACT project's policy and program implications for aging services programs.

Keywords: Aging, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.