MN Impact: Taking the Vital Involvement Construct to Service Coordinators

September 25, 2017

Issue

By 2030, twenty-four percent of Minnesota's population will be sixty-five years or older. These elders are requiring more and different care, services, and support, for longer periods of time, than ever before. University of Minnesota social scientists have developed the Vital Involvement (VI) construct, which allows us to address the challenges presented by an aging population in ways that are both humane for elders and productive for society, but more work is needed to involve individuals that work with seniors in this process.

What has been done

To work effectively with Service Coordinators at senior housing centers, researchers developed the Vital Involvement-based Service Coordination model, which allows Service Coordinators to access outside services and training and an outlet to promote VI among their residents. Researchers receive and analyze 70 VI stories per month from various Service Coordinators and pick 2-4 exemplary stories to highlight in the bi-monthly AHEPA newsletter.

Results

Since, initiating these bi-monthly teaching tools, researchers have noticed an increased complexity and depth in the quality of overall VI stories submitted each month. These increases indicate a fuller Service Coordinator understanding of VI, more effective promotion, and increased levels of resident VI in the properties where these service coordinators work. This process is helping to build a foundation for measuring elder well-being that looks at more than the simple dollar amount saved on health-care and mental-health-care costs. It has great potential for influencing programming for older adults and healthy psychosocial development at each stage of life.