When older adults are exposed to hypothetical stories about emergency situations, they are more apt to think about what could go wrong and be better prepared.
A researcher at the University of Missouri is using hypothetical scenarios to help educate older adults who live alone in rural areas be better equipped to handle emergencies.
Lawrence Ganong, professor and co-chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at MU, designed vignettes, or stories, that demonstrated fictitious older adults in emergency situations. Ganong had members of the older adults’ support network (e.g., family members, neighbors or close friends), discuss the hypothetical scenarios with the older adults. He found that older adults who had discussed the stories with their support members created better emergency plans than those who only received emergency planning information from members of their support networks.
“Older adults want to be independent and live at home rather than in nursing homes,” Ganong said. “However, older adults living alone have increased risk of injury during emergencies. Adults living in rural communities are especially at risk because there are fewer healthcare professionals in these areas, less community support and slower ambulance response times.” Read more
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