Raising Awareness of Elder Abuse Prevention in the Community: A Community-Based Participatory Research Approach

Chock, Johnelle
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Purpose: This project used a community-based participatory research (CBPR) methodology to increase the capacity of independent-living elders in urban Honolulu and to identify health issues and address health promotion and disease prevention. Background: University of Hawaii academic researchers engaged in partnership with Project Dana, a non-profit community-based organization that provides support services to the elderly community. Community-based participatory research is a collaborative approach that equitably involves all partners and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings; thus combining knowledge with taking action and achieving social change to improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities. Methods: The partnership involved four community partners and two academic researchers. The partnership decided that elder abuse prevention was an important topic to the community. Using a modified-focus group technique, partners engaged in interactive project design [to develop a pamphlet to address elder abuse] and implementation. The community members self-organized and decided on how to take on this endeavor, and the academic researchers served as consultants. Community partners disseminated the pamphlet to their own communities-of-reference and obtained evaluative feedback. Outcomes: The partners’ pamphlet stimulated awareness of elder abuse to a variety of audiences: elder community, caregivers, Project Dana, and church leaders. Based on the dissemination process, the partners informed other elders about elder abuse prevention and engaged in advocacy by bringing information to shape the client-approaches of the Project Dana staff and volunteers, thus prompting social change. Additionally, members of the partnership built capacity to address an issue that significantly affects their own health. Conclusion/Implications: This study empowered a group of community-dwelling elders in the Project Dana organization to take action. Capacity was developed amongst the group to address issues of importance to improving health outcomes. Further research is needed to increase visibility and the use CBPR to address other complex health needs of elders, mitigate health disparities, as well as inform decision-making and public policy.
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