Abstracts Winter

December 2011, Vol. 16, No. 2
ISSN 1540 5273

Toward holistic care: Integrating process and content

Dena Wise, Christopher Sneed, Ann A. Berry, The University of Tennessee Extension


As a result of the last decade of social and economic change, our traditional concept of caregiving may need broadening to encompass the needs of physically, emotionally, and economically vulnerable individuals and families. Using the lens of ecological systems theory, this paper proposes a holistic framework that takes into account the multifaceted care needs of vulnerable populations as well as the cadre of resources available through personal networks and the broader care community. Full Text

The role of self-directed learning (SDL) in managing health care: Implications for caregivers

Janet S. Valente, University of Georgia Griffin Campus


Self-directed learners assume ownership for their own thoughts and actions and take control over how to respond to a given situation. The purposes of this paper are (1) to share findings from a qualitative study of older adults aged 65-89 who practice self-directed learning (SDL) as their primary approach to managing their heath and (2) to explore the potential application of SDL to the caregiver’s personal management strategies. The research data was collected through semi-structured and open-ended interviews and review of documents used by older adults in the study. Interviews of fifteen older adults were audio taped and transcribed using the constant comparative method (Strauss and Corbin 1998). Findings reveal that there are six key factors and associated themes related to understanding how older adults’ SDL is affecting their health care. These factors include motivators to take control of health, health care behaviors, contextual factors, a learning cycle of self-directed health care, individual perceptions, and management of physical and environmental. New insights into the process of SDL and healthcare were revealed, and they provided a road map of the learning cycle adults use when self-directing their health care. Caregivers who are exposed to these findings increase their knowledge and understanding of the benefits of SDL. An obvious step is that many caregivers incorporate SDL into their own lives. Caregivers becoming self-directed learners to effectively manage their own life tasks and their health care could result in sufficiently improved outcomes.  Full Text

A model: Educating caregivers for financial success

Carolyn L. Bird, North Carolina State University, Ann A. Berry, The University of Tennessee Extension


Many caregivers focus solely on the person needing care, neglecting their own needs. While this servant attitude is admirable, if caregiver needs are neglected too long, severe consequences can emerge. The current economic downturn exacerbates the monetary costs and future financial impacts stemming from the costs of family caregiving. The Making Ends Meet for Caregiving program draws from theory and real-life experiences to encourage positive action among family caregivers. Uniquely, this article synthesizes an education model that employs two theories to promote caregiver self-care in the realm of preparation for later-life financial security. Educational programming for small or large group audiences is illustrated. Full Text

Potential later life economic impacts associated with family caregiving

Carolyn L. Bird, North Carolina State University, Ann A. Berry, The University of Tennessee Extension


The number of family caregivers is expected to continually rise as baby boomers provide care for aging parents. Boomers, often in their peak wage-earning years, struggle to balance work, family, and caregiving responsibilities. This article incorporates studies detailing the effect of the economics of caregiving on the physical and financial well-being of the caregiver. Article analysis sharpens the focus of economic impacts manifested in a variety of forms: apparent and immediate, hidden, and delayed and compounded. Family caregiving’s social and economic benefits are examined in concert with current and needed social, legislative, and employer supports for family caregivers. Full Text

Faith and finance: Empowering faith leaders to care for congregants in financial crisis

Christopher Sneed, Dena Wise, Ann A. Berry, Jane Gault, University of Tennessee Extension


Pastors and lay faith leaders play a critical role as caregivers to their congregations and communities. These caregiving responsibilities include assisting families in financial crisis. Because many people turn to faith leaders for support during financial crisis, faith leaders must know how to guide individuals and families through assessment of their financial situations and toward productive action. A group of religious leaders were engaged in Spring 2010 to assist in the development of an online needs assessment survey to be e-mailed to ministers and lay leaders of faith-based organizations across the state. The survey contained questions that help investigate attitudes of ministers and lay leaders and assess their need for financial education/counseling training and support in dealing with congregants in financial crisis. Based on results of the survey, the State Extension Family Economics Leadership Team developed a three-series workshop to equip faith leaders with basic financial education information and skills. Training included information on credit, budgeting, community resources, and how to triage bills during a financial crisis. Participants completing the three-series workshop reported an increase in their financial management skills. Additionally, participants expressed interest in the development of a Faith and Finance coalition for ongoing dialogue, resource development, and dissemination. Full Text...

Practitioner’s Brief Brain Injury Association of Tennessee Caregiver Support Network

Pam Bryan, Brain Injury Association of Tennessee


Caregivers are best able to care for others when they themselves are nurtured – when they find a community of others who know, understand and care about each other. The Brain Injury Association of Tennessee, with a grant from the Tennessee Disability Coalition, developed the curriculum for their Caregiver Support Network program. The program addresses caregiver needs through information and education regarding various aspects of caregiving. In addition, numerous opportunities are provided for caregivers to share their personal “stories” and experiences. These vital sharing opportunities allow caregivers to gain and give much needed support. Full Text



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