Measurement, maintenance and improvement of psychological well-being of retired seniors

Author: Mr Micusha Dumitru STSM Period: 2020-10-10 – 2020-11-01

ECI: No

Hosting institution: Afedemy

From ITC: Yes

PURPOSE OF THE STMS

The overarching aim of the STSM was to strengthen the collaboration between AFEDEMY and ULIM in order to improve mutual capacity to raise awareness and exchange information on the state of art of smart healthy age-friendly environments national and regional levels particularly within the topics of Responsible Research and Innovation and addressing societal challenges.
This STSM was aimed to exchange information accumulated in an international environment (Moldova-Netherlands) by observing and questioning elderly people, processing the data obtained in order to define, maintain and improve the level of psychological, intellectual and emotional well-being for seniors.
To bring an instrument for measuring psychological well-being was the main object of this STSM, also monitoring the evolution of the defined psychological leaks in multifunctional indoor environment. The scope is to meet the requirements of Europe’s ageing population while promoting healthy and safe ageing, to identify core challenges that older adults face when aging in the workplace.
This aim is allied to the objectives of the fourth Working Group of the COST Action, which works to improve smart support furniture and habitat environments according to user’s needs and further validated by these users (elderly and caretakers) for an active ageing.
After the mission, when the efficiency of our methodology is proved, to deliver to the host institution the new statistical method of research. In our turn, we expect to also obtain a new method of research regarding the measurement of emotional/psychological/ intellectual well-being of seniors, this way creating a portfolio of various methods which are to be applied on other samples during our empirical research.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK CARRIED OUT DURING THE STSMS

In order to measure the psychological well-being state, we built a Psychological WellBeing Questionnaire (PWBQ) with 30 items, five items for each of the six dimensions that we considered appropriate for the definition of psychological well-being: the feeling of being happy, self-acceptance, control over the environment, autonomy, positive relationships with others, purpose and meaning of life.
It was discussed Moldovan and Dutch and other investigative questionnaires about psychological, intellectual and emotional well-being of elders. Based on the questionnaires from Moldova, the questionnaire from AFEdemy in Netherlands, using other surveys, amongh other the 36-Item Short Form Survey Instrument (SF-36) from USA, it was finished with the Psychological Well-Being Questionnaire.
The questionnaire was adapted to Dutch language.

With the help of the PWBQ questionnaire, a group of older adults from different collectives in the Netherlands were interviewed and the information was collected about  the psychological needs of creativity and emotionality.
Based on collected data on the psychological energy was analyzed the statistical methods of maintaining and improving the psychological excitement of the seniors from different groups of the seniors.
Collected data and analyzed methods will support the methodology and the decisions to be proposed in the branch of creating a more productive, healthier, and more comfortable society for the elderly. The questionnaires, which have been implemented within the STSM, were based on the
characteristics of the psychological well-being of the elders in the sectors of psychological energy loss.

Access to local libraries and databases from Haga, Amsterdam, Roterdam and AFEdemy gave the opport unity to select and study several methods of work with investigative questionnaires. The host institution AFEdemy helped to organize the groups of respondents and administering the questionnaire to the sample of respondents in Dutch space.
The information obtained from surveys as a result of the questioning seniors from selected Dutch collectives was processed, analysed and distributed on three age compartments to be subjected to processing using statistical methods of processing surveys. The respondents had a positive reaction on the survey, but with a remark that there are too much questionnaires to fill up everywhere nowadays (i.e.:hospital, city hall,etc.), and that they would have much more pleasure from discussing personally with specialists sharing their stories with them. The specialists instead, can observe from these discutions the needs of the seniors, and bring to them the appropriate IoT and ICT solutions.
Under the guidance of the host institution AFEdemy was given the opportunity to work with scientists from other Dutch institutions such as Prof. Joost van Hoof, professor of Urban Ageing from The University of Hague, and Elisabeth de Vries, and others, who helped a lot and gave suggestions on the structure of age-friendly societies and steps to take to it’s construction.

DESCRIPTION OF THE MAIN RESULTS OBTAINED

The STSM has been finished successfully with very good results, maybe even more than we’ve expected.

1. The main purpose of applying our instrument of zero-measurement of the psychological well being, by bringing it to the host institution for validation and appreciation, was fulfilled, so now the instrument is ready to be introduced in the portofolio of instruments for measuring for the researchers from the field of Social Psychlogy and Sociology.
2. Also, the host institution AFEdemy shared with us their latest Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Questionnaire, which is a representative survey on the perceived agefriendliness of the city among its older citizens. Part of this survey was the development of a validated questionnaire, which allows for an assessment of the perceived agefriendliness. This new instrument can be applied successfully in other countries and can also be included in our portofolio of methods for measuring different aspects of well-being for seniors.
3. There were interwiews held with some older adults from Netherlands, who shared with us the experience of living in an age-friendly environment, and also shared some practical recommendations (i.e.creation of computer-learning classes) for countries such as Republic of Moldova, where age-friendly environments are not that developed. This recommendations are to be implemented.
4. Based on discussions with interwiewees and on their past experiences with different questionnaire-based surveys, was made the conclusion that older respondents prefer more participating in the interview-based surveys than filling up questionnaires. It gives a more personalized and qualitative response. But, even with observing these preferences at respondents, there is still no other better way of questioning big groups of respondents than questionnaire-based surveys.

Observations and recommendations: Considering the opinion of the interwiewees and representatives from the nursing homes was also made the observation that: there is a very high level of healthcare and good environment for the elderly living in the community, but at the same time a lack of psychological services in these habitats, that is why there is a lack in measuring and maintaining the psychological well-being.
A recommended solution would be to attract more psychologists to work in age-friendly habitats, this way there would be the possibility to obtain more qualitative results through frequent interviews and conversations, rather than through the questionnaire method which gives more quantitative results.
A better understanding of the personalized psychological needs of each individual would bring a propulsion in development of IoT Related Technology and their Impact on New ICT.
It has been a pleasant and a very fructuous collaboration with AFEDEMY, as we brought to Republic of Moldova new solutions in building age-friendly environments.

FUTURE COLLABORATIONS

We consider this STSM was just a jumpstart of the collaboration between AFEDEMY and Association “AESM Seniors”, and for the future collaborations we express our willingness to involve Moldovan specialists in international researches, in order to develop better personalized methods of questioning and afterwards to bring solutions for the psychological assessment of older adults in the EU age-friendly habitats for SHELD-ON and AFEDEMY, for improving the general level of well-being for elderly and to bring new
ideas to IoT and ICT developers.
These questionnaires are also to be used on older adult samples from the Republic of Moldova. Finally, a joint estimate of the results of the mixed survey will be made. The respective conclusions will be made on the use of «Personal Psychology» recipe warehouses, «Positive-Negative» recipe repository, together with the PWBQ recipe warehouses. These deposits will form the basis of future research into methods of maintaining and positive development of the psychological, intellectual and emotional well-being of the elderly.
Considering that this STSM is only a part of our research, the biggest part of work is done on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. The results of the entire research will be published in a q1 or q2 scientific journal under the topic “Psychological well-being of retired seniors in a transitional society”.
In the future will be investigated measures to improve the well-being of the elderly, which are largely supported by such means as: continuity of the life of the elderly through production and consumption activities, hormonal reflections and psychological survival. This continuing activity of the seniors have to be investigated with the thoroughgoing study of their creational and emotional psychological performance. Most of the researches we make, are oriented to achieve the purpose of maintaining and developing the seniors’ progress in their activities inside their habitat and in the process of transition from one of the group of seniority to another. The results of our investigations, partly coming from the mission work, carried out through this STSM project will be proposed to be implemented in the network of all the educational institutions of the Republic of Moldova and in the network of the European’s universities with the goal to exchange the accumulated experience.
The results will contribute to solving problems and actions carried out within the COST CA 16226, Indoor living space improvement: Smart Habitat for the Elderly (SHELD-ON), this way creating a better society for everybody.