SPRY Foundation - Setting Priorities for Retirement Years

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Aging and Communications Training (ACT) Project

The goals of this project are:

1. To train approximately 60 direct care workers in Baltimore about concepts of aging, inter-personal communications, personal stress management skills, and mental health issues of the elderly.

2. To develop and implement a training curriculum based on the current literature on aging, communicating with older adults, mental health, and stress management, that is tailored to the assessed needs of direct care workers, their supervisors, and the older adults they serve.

3. To measure the impact of this training program, both in immediate post-tests and in interviews 3-4 months after the training.

4. To initiate disseminate of this model program nationally with training materials and guidebooks. This will begin with training fourteen state trainers at the national n4a meeting in July of 2007.


With the aging of the baby boomers, and the increased longevity of Americans, there will be even more need for support to help older adults age successfully in their home and community. To help address this goal, the ACT project is designed to enhance the professionalism of direct care workers, whether they are employees or volunteers, and to enable them to better serve independent living older adults whose age, culture, language, and socioeconomic level might vary from those of the workers themselves.

Method and Target Population:

The training is being designed in flexible, locally adaptable modules to be carried out in two or three days. The initial development and testing will be done in Baltimore, and will be completed in approximately three weeks for groups of up to 20 workers. Three groups (senior center assistants and volunteers, Meals on Wheels meal deliverers, and case managers who are either managed directly by CARE or by a contract organization) are planned, with appropriate oversight by CARE, SPRY, and the ACT Project national Advisory Committee.

Staff for the Project:

Dr. Russell E. Morgan, Jr., President of the SPRY Foundation, is the Principal Investigator on this grant that is funded by The Retirement Research Foundation. Working with him are: the Project Director, Dr. Patricia Alt, Professor of Health Science at Towson University (and former CARE Commissioner); Dr. Robert Bertera, the Evaluator; and the Project Trainer, Ms. Tracy Gibbs, CARE Personnel Generalist. Ms. Sandy Markwood, the CEO of N4A, is deeply involved, as are the ACT Project national Advisory Committee, Dr. Robert Kahn, Dr. Thomas Prohaska, and Dr. Linda Noelker.

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