A1 OLDER CANADIANS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS ON INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
Students: Lisa DosSantos and Jenani Shanthalinkam
Supervisor: Rosalie Wang
Rationale: Information communication technology (ICT), such as the Internet, computers, and mobile devices, is becoming necessary for social inclusion and participation in daily activities. Older Canadians with cognitive deficits experience challenges in accessing and using ICT. Such technology access and use often involves support from caregivers. Yet, research is limited on the perspectives of older Canadians with cognitive impairments and their caregivers on their experiences with technology to support daily activities and social inclusion. Understanding their perspectives could help direct the development of ICT services and supports, and result in greater engagement in activities. Objectives: The objective of this qualitative study is to explore the perspectives of older Canadians with cognitive impairments and their caregivers on the challenges and facilitators of ICT access and use, and the opportunities for ICT to support daily and social activities. Methods: We have a sample size of 10 participants: five older adults with cognitive deficits aged 55 and older, and five caregivers for this population aged 34 and older. We used a qualitative descriptive design, and semi-structured interview questions to understand our participants’ perspectives on their access and use of ICT. We used a thematic analysis to identify and classify key components of their discourse to create a systematic description of their perspectives. Results: We found 5 overarching themes during our thematic analysis: (1) the physical and cognitive demands associated with ICT; (2) the assistance and support received in order to fully access and use ICT; (3) the fear of repercussions associated with accessing and using ICT; (4) the perceived potential usefulness of ICT; and (5) the meaningful occupations that ICT currently facilitates. Conclusions: Our findings will have the potential to guide the development of relevant ICT services and supports, which could have a positive impact on the social and daily activities of older adults with cognitive impairments and their caregivers.
A2 NAVIGATING CHANGING SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS: SENIORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY’S ROLE
Students: Marisa Rostek and Hilary Walsh
Supervisors: Barry Trentham and Lynn Cockburn
Background: People experience changes in social relationships as they age. Changing occupational roles may put seniors at risk for social isolation. There is limited understanding as to how seniors perceive occupational therapy’s role. Purpose: 1) understand experiences regarding the development/maintenance of social relationships, 2) understand how occupational therapy’s role is perceived in navigating social relationships. Methods: Through arts-informed narrative inquiry, seven seniors were interviewed. Themes were analyzed using the ecological occupational perspective on aging and life course perspective theory. Findings: Health status and relocation resulted in changes in social relationships. Seniors kept in touch, reached out and were open to socialization through occupation. Seniors began creating social activities and choosing who remained in their social circle. The occupational therapy role was not well understood. Implications: What character should occupational therapists play in supporting social relationships? Findings will inform how the occupational therapy role is perceived regarding social relationships.
A3 COMMUNITY REINTEGRATION EXPERIENCES AMONG CRITICAL ILLNESS SURVIVORS AND FAMILY CAREGIVERS
Students: Natalie Chen and Imanahari Jayaweera Muhandiramge
Supervisors: Jill Cameron and Kristina Kokorelias
Introduction: Community reintegration is the ultimate goal of rehabilitation of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors. It can also become a challenge for both the ICU survivors and family caregivers due to physical and psychological impairments often experienced by ICU survivors after discharge. However, limited research has examined the community reintegration experiences of ICU survivors and their family caregivers following discharge. Methods: This qualitative descriptive study included 13 ICU survivors and 16 family caregivers recruited from 6 hospitals in Ontario who completed semi-structured interviews 24 months post-ICU discharge. Results: Experiences of ICU survivors and caregivers were linked, hence their perspectives were presented together. Thematic analysis of data identified “adjustment” as the overarching theme with four sub themes: 1) relationship changes; 2) lifestyle modifications; 3) coping with emotional and physical changes 4) work and financial changes. Conclusions: Our findings contribute to the current community reintegration literature by uncovering the community reintegration experiences of ICU survivors and family caregivers. The findings can help healthcare professionals (HCPs) including occupational therapists (OTs) to better understand the needs and challenges of ICU survivors and family caregivers in order to provide more effective follow-up services that facilitate their community reintegration.
A4 OCCUPATIONAL CHALLENGES IN OLDER ADULTS WITH SUBJECTIVE COGNITIVE DECLINE
Students: Henry Quach and Calvin Leung
Supervisors: Deirdre Dawson and Shlomit Rotenberg
Background: Older adults subjectively reporting cognitive decline in the absence of objective signs are at a higher risk for challenges with daily activities. A gap remains in understanding the types of challenges experienced. Purpose: The current study identified the occupational performance issues (OPIs) between individuals with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and objective cognitive impairments, and whether OPIs differed between groups. Methods: Secondary data assessed by a cognitive battery assessment and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure was used for 59 participants with SCD and 50 participants with objective cognitive impairments. Based on content analysis, OPIs were categorized into nine functional areas. A multivariate analysis of covariance was used to compare the frequency of OPIs between groups. Results: Highest proportions of OPIs for both groups related to community and social life, followed by self-care and general tasks and demands. Conclusion: Understanding the types of OPIs helps to inform best practices.