Monday, February 27, 2017

Age Progression Stereotypes of Young Adults (Research, Video 3:38)

Are you locked in the age cage with negative views on aging that you have nurtured since childhood? Do you find yourself making cynical, stereotypical jokes about older adults' undesirable behavior and appearance? Negative self-stereotyping unconsciously influences behaviors. Older adults can help eliminate ageism by committing to unlocking and leaving their own age cages and modeling positive acceptance to younger generations.

Technology can speed up the visual aging process now with age progression simulators that eliminate the long wait to see results of certain aspects of aging. Consider how many young adults today view aging and their responses while being participants in a research study in old-age progression. These college students were randomly assigned to one of three groups: self-aged simulation (viewing their own aging), stranger-aged simulation (viewing strangers aging), or a control group. Which group do you think had the most negative responses regarding aging? If you said the self-aged group that evaluated their own aging progress, you are right.

Individuals in the self-aged simulation group reported greater aging anxiety and greater aging. They also perceived older adults as less competent and expressed more pity and less envy for older adults. Compared to the stranger-aged group, participants who observed their own age progression were more likely to deny the authenticity of their transformed image.

These results confirm the stereotypes many young people have already accepted about older adults, even negatively stereotyping their own aging in virtual experiences. In this video, young people explain their views regarding their own age progression simulations predicting how they would look in 40 years:

You might also be interested in this nationally recognized research our fourth graders did on ageism stereotypes in nursing homes:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Robots: Long-Distance Conversations (Alzheimer's Dementia Research, Video 1:26)

The Telenoid R1 is a human-like remote controlled robot created by Hiroshi Ishiguro, a Japanese roboticist. What makes this robot so unique is an audio and transmitter movement through which people can relay messages over long distances. In other words, a loved one in another location can speak to the user of the robot in a conversation. Made of silicone rubber, the robot is designed to be an ambiguous figure in terms of gender and age.

This is what happens when the user communicates with someone who is not present. Cameras and microphones capture the voice and movements of an operator which are projected through the Telenoid R1 to the user. The mouth is able to open and close to imitate talking. A webcam or other video capturing device can record a person's movements and voice and send them to the Telenoid R1 using a connection with Wifi. A few pre-programmed, controllable behaviors are greetings, expressing happiness, and motioning for a hug. Random actions include such behaviors as breathing and blinking, which give the robot the appearance of being alive.

Telenoid R1 was researched at a group home for the elderly with dementia. Researchers compared Telenoid-mediated and face-to-face conditions with three residents with Alzheimer's disease. The results indicate that two of the three residents with moderate Alzheimer’s disease showed a positive reaction to Telenoid. Both residents became less nervous while communicating with Telenoid from the time they were first introduced to it. They also started to use more body gestures in the face-to-face condition and more physical interactions in the Telenoid-mediated condition.

This video, which was recorded at a conference, gives a brief demonstration of how Telenoid R1 communication operates. In addition to usage at work and in education, researchers hope Telenoid R1 can be used successfully with older adults in care homes to communicate with family members who are not able to visit them personally.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

Monday, February 6, 2017

Unconscious (Implicit) Healthcare Bias: Causes, Solutions (Research, Video 4:33)

Quality of healthcare always depends on the context in which it is given. Context includes all resources available, including attitudes (overt or implicit) of healthcare providers. Healthcare bias toward people of color is experienced widely in America. Sometimes the bias is overt, even intentional. Other times, it is done implicitly, unconsciously, but still doing harm. 

People of color face disparities in access to healthcare, the quality of care received, and health outcomes. Bias in attitudes and behavior of healthcare providers has been identified as a factor that contributes to health disparities. These disparities have been confirmed by considerable research, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, and other reputable sources. 

An investigation of the extent to which implicit racial/ethnic bias exists among healthcare professionals was done. Including reviews of 15 studies using mostly American participants, this research examined the relationships between healthcare professionals' implicit attitudes about racial/ethnic groups and healthcare outcomes. These were the results:

1)   Low to moderate levels of implicit racial/ethnic bias were found among healthcare professionals in all but 1 study.

2)   Levels of implicit bias against Black, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, and dark-skinned people were relatively similar across these groups.

3)   Although some associations between implicit bias and healthcare outcomes were not significant, results also showed that implicit bias was significantly related to patient-provider interactions, treatment decisions, treatment adherence, and patient health outcomes.

4)   Implicit attitudes were more often significantly related to patient-provider interactions and health outcomes than treatment processes.

Conclusion of Research:
“Most healthcare providers appear to have implicit bias in terms of positive attitudes toward Whites and negative attitudes toward people of color.” 

Clearly, more interventions targeting implicit attitudes among healthcare professionals are needed. This video titled “How Can Providers Reduce Unconscious Bias?” addresses this issue. David R. Williams, Professor of Public Health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, has been researching health inequities in the United States for two decades. In this video, he sits down with Don Berwick, MD, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at IHI, to describe three promising strategies to reduce implicit bias.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Volunteer Benefits, Testimonies (Research, Video 1:06)

Have you ever considered the many benefits of hospice and other forms of volunteering? There are various reason why people enjoy giving service to others in win-win relationships. Hospice volunteering seems a little weird to some people. The idea of freely spending time with terminally ill patients predicted to die within six months appears somewhat bizarre. I have had people insist that hospice volunteering must be depressing, even after I have said it isn't and have enjoyed it for many years.

How do other hospice volunteers feel about their experiences? A hospice volunteer research survey measured motivations to volunteer, satisfaction with the role and the organization, and fear of death and dying. This is what the survey reported:

1) Motivations to volunteer remained over time, and satisfaction increased with time.

2) Fears of death and dying varied by age, volunteer role, and motivations to volunteer. Fears decreased at six months.

Like many other kinds of service, hospice volunteering shows evidence of being a satisfying experience. In terms of depression about death, it appears to help decrease fears about death and dying.

What about other ways of giving service? Why do people choose them? There are so many choices available. In this brief video, five people who volunteer talk about the volunteer choices they made in sports, in the community, with elderly people, at the Paralympics, in a band, and with animals. Remember, good service is always a win-win opportunity for both the giver and receiver.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.