Multipurpose Senior Centers: Environmental Influences on Lifelong Learning

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Identifier 2003_Eaton
Title Multipurpose Senior Centers: Environmental Influences on Lifelong Learning
Creator Eaton, Jackie
Subject Leadership; Learning; Activities of Daily Living; Quality of Life; Interpersonal Relations; Social Environment; Motivation; Social Participation; Territoriality; Spatial Behavior; Cooperative Behavior; Happiness; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Interviews as Topic; Aging Populations; Multipurpose Senior Centers; Synomorphic Relationships; Lifelong Learning; Optimal Aging
Description A comparative ethnography was used to examine the social, physical, and organizational environments influencing lifelong learning opportunities in three multipurpose senior centers. The study included observations spanning 120 hours and 30 participant interviews. Field notes and word-for-word interview transcripts were analyzed for existing learning opportunities, participation levels, environmental fit, and senior leadership roles. Results suggested that centers varied greatly in their ability to maximize synomorphic relationships, where the physical environment supported the activities carried out in that space. In one center, when the dining room was used for art class, the flow and concentration levels in the learning environment were compromised. Computers were neglected when they were located in the employee break room of one center, compared to the frequent use in another center with a specifically designed "computer room." Organizational environments were observed to encourage or discourage senior empowerment. One center had a highly visible senior council with participants who made the decisions about learning opportunities and senior instructors for all activities. In contrast, the other centers were observed to have a director-centered philosophy, with a weak or absent senior council, and few opportunities for leadership. Those centers that lacked senior empowerment were characterized by very low participant involvement and resentment was conveyed during interviews. Implications suggest that successful lifelong learning opportunities should emphasize synomorphic environments, volunteerism, and empowerment for participants.
Publisher Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Date 2003
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Jackie Eaton 2003
Holding Institution Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Scanning Technician sg
Metadata Cataloger AMT
Name Jackie Eaton
Type Text
ARK ark:/87278/s6wx0g0p
Setname ehsl_gerint
Date Created 2013-01-28
Date Modified 2018-06-08
ID 179486
Reference URL
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