Using a participatory action research approach as a process for promoting the health of older people

Jan Ritchie, Diana Bernard, Franziska Trede, Brenda Hill, Barbara Squires

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Issue addressed: Health promotion within a new public health framework has emphasised the importance ofempowering less advantaged groups in Australian society. Older persons living in collective accommodation are one group that has the potential to be disadvantaged because of the possible relinquishment of their ability to be self-determining. This pilot study sought to explore whether retirement village residents could be empowered to address issues of concern regarding their health and well-being.Method: In a participatory action research inquiry, residents of three urban retirement villages were invited to be co-researchers. The process of concurrent investigation and action followed a five-part sequence of entry, issue identification, planning, action and reflection.Results: Residents became actively involved in identifying major concerns. Eight main areas of concern evolved regarding their well-being. Each village then set up a small group to deal with these concernS in priority sequence. Some actions required support from management, some from the project officer/researcher and some they could implement themselves. More actions focused on enhancing social and emotional health than physical health. On reflection, residents stated that they valued the opportunity to clarify mutual concerns and to make collective decisions on changes that could enhance their own health and well-being. Within the short period of the pilot study, some indicators of empowerment were documented.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)54-60
    Number of pages7
    JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
    Volume14
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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