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Exploring informal support networks of "In service of seniors: Pittsburgh" program participants

Papperman, Sarah (2015) Exploring informal support networks of "In service of seniors: Pittsburgh" program participants. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Across the United States the proportion of the population aged 60 and older continues to grow. American adults consistently express a desire to remain in their homes as they age, however the ratio of potential informal caregivers to potential older adult care recipients is shrinking. Both informal support from friends and families and formal support from private and public agencies play important roles in supporting older adults in their wishes to “age in place.” The author worked with the leadership of the volunteer-based In Service of Seniors: Pittsburgh (ISOSP) program to design this explorative evaluation. The primary objective was to learn more about the formal and informal support networks of program participants. The project has public health importance, as the author provided program leadership with recommendations to provide more informed and coordinated services for their participants.
The author designed and administered questionnaires with 116 older adult participants of the ISOSP program and with 24 support people identified by those participants. Chi square and binary logistic regression analyses were conducted on questionnaire responses using SPSS statistical software. Results indicate that, compared to the older adult population across Allegheny County, ISOSP participants were older, lower income, more likely to live alone and have lower self-rated health, more limited in ability to perform routine tasks but less likely to have informal support, and less satisfied with their quality of life. The only factor significantly correlated with receipt of informal support was race, with African Americans being more likely to report receipt of practical assistance from family members and friends. The only factor significantly correlated with granting permission to contact a support person was receipt of practical support from family members and friends. Program participants receiving assistance from formal support sources but not from informal sources were less likely than other participants to receive emotional support from family members and friends. The author recommends that ISOSP staff members continue to ask participants about their support networks, to provide resources to support people, and to pay special attention to participants who receive formal services but may lack safety net support from family members and friends.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Papperman, Sarahsap77@pitt.eduSAP77
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorAlbert, Stevensmalbert@pitt.eduSMALBERT
Committee MemberRicci, Edmund Memricci@pitt.eduEMRICCI
Committee MemberSchulz, Richardschulz@pitt.eduSCHULZ
Date: 15 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 April 2015
Approval Date: 15 June 2015
Submission Date: 5 April 2015
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 76
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aging, Caregiving, Volunteering, Social Support
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2015 19:14
Last Modified: 01 May 2017 05:15


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