Textbook Notes (358,897)
Canada (155,906)
HLTC22H3 (102)
Anna Walsh (49)
Chapter 11

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Anna Walsh

A&G: Chapter 11. Social Support, Health, and Aging • Social support is important for both mental health and physical health throughout the life span, but it may be especially important in late life. Characteristics of the Social Support Network Functions of Social Support Three functions of social support have been identified: 1. aid (instrumental help), 2. affect (emotional support), and 3. affirmation (acknowledgment of one’s values or agreement with one’s attitudes). Instrumental support: • includes tangible aid • for older people this may be as simple as providing a ride to the grocery store or mowing the lawn and often takes the form of help with tasks of daily living such as activities of daily living (ADL’s) and instrumental activities of daily living Emotional support • refers to the quality of the person’s relationship with others including empathy, caring, companionship, love and trust. • Intention of social support is often to alleviate the psychological distress of the person Affirmation • Knowledge and understanding that one’s beliefs and attitudes are similar to others therefore providing membership and acceptance in a group Social Support Network Cantor and Little (1985)- describe three levels of social support: • Informal • Quasi-formal • Formal Informal Support Informal support network members consist of family, friends, and neighbors. • Provides instrumental and emotional support, companionship, acceptance, love, understanding and respect • Primary caregivers to elder people who needs assistance • Daughters are more likely to help parents than sons [sons help with repairment, management etc] • Living alone can place a person at risk of unavailable support • Neighours were helpful in socialization and tension reduction • Men only trust and find their wives their main confidants • Women can socially interact and share with best friends and family • There is a difference between ethnic backgrounds and the ways they take care of their eldery • African American provided higher intensity of care Quasi-Formal Support • The quasi-formal support system includes community organizations and service workers. o These are religious organizations, neighborhoods and volunteer community interest groups such as lions clubs and Masons • Provides unpaid services to older persons often as a voluntary link between individuals or families and communities o Providing information helping with transportation, or doing home repairs o Serve as watch dogs for the older person, noting when mail is not picked up or a customary shopping trip is missed • Places of worship are important source of quasi formal support o Synagogues, churches, temples and mosques provide emotional support for their members through spiritual connections and a sense of community Formal Support • consists of members of professional organizations who are hired to provide care to the individual. These can be either private or public organizations. • Examples of agencies that provide formal help are • Adult day health centres • Health clinics • Respite facilities • Home and health care agencies • Skilled nursing homes • Social service agencies • Assisted living facilities • Public health departments • Formal support network members give a wide spectrum of care, most of it instrumental in nature • Hard for most people to live in a skilled nursing facility (SNF) Interface of Formal and Informal Support • For those older people who are truly frail, both formal and informal services are frequently needed. The formal system is designed to give instrumental and hands-on care, whereas the informal system provides emotional support, socializing, community continuity, and links to the formal network. • Found that information caregivers provided the majority of care to their older relatives even when formal support was available • Recent studies substantiate that the use of formal support has minimal impact on the amount of care given by the informal system • Addition of formal in home support (personal care and bathing) to older adults with chronic illnesses was not found to be associated with less informal or self care. Families continue to provide care for their family members even with outside help • Formal: help with ADL tasks • Informal: emotional support, community continuity, links to formal network Assessment of Social Support • Social support can be measured by looking at both quantity and quality. • Quantity is an objective measure (e.g., number of visits from friends, how they helped), • quality is deeme
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