Communities across the United States are working to increase their capacity to become "senior friendly" or "elder ready" as the aging of the baby boom cohort swells their populations of older residents. The aim of this applied research is to enhance community capacity to address the issues of an aging society through interdisciplinary competency development for professionals working in communities. Community leaders and national stakeholders were asked via semi-structured key informant interviews about the roles played by, and knowledge and skills needed by professionals who staff community level approaches to aging. To further inform competency development for this emerging area of practice, a review of the characteristics of community level approaches to aging was conducted via document/web content analysis. Findings revealed a rich set of roles and associated tasks played by professionals including convener/facilitator, translator across disciplines, planner, nonprofit manager and resource connector. Their roles also related to knowing the population of older adults and navigating the policy/intergovernmental arena. Further, they may play community organizer, social entrepreneur or service provider roles. Participants emphasized the process of developing community level approaches to aging and what competencies professionals needed to effectively assist that process. Findings also supported a relationship between community capacity and competency development in professionals. Participants identified core leadership as a building block for community capacity and described in detail how the professionals facilitated the work of that core leadership. Dissemination of the initial set of interdisciplinary competencies which resulted from the qualitative analysis process is directed at the disciplines of public health, gerontology, planning, public administration and social work.
|Commitee:||Bolda, Elise J., Dilworth-Anderson, Peggye, Hobbs, Suzanne H., Streets, Dennis|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|Department:||Health Policy And Management|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-B 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Aging of communities, Aging society, Community capacity, Community level appproaches to aging, Interdisciplinary professional competencies|
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