Strengthening rural social work practice with older persons - the relevance of intermediate resources in one Newfoundland community

Wideman, Gail (2010) Strengthening rural social work practice with older persons - the relevance of intermediate resources in one Newfoundland community. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The capacity for older residents to age in place in rural Newfoundland and Labrador has been profoundly affected by out-migration and the resultant dismantling of traditional networks of support. Using a case study design, this qualitative research project asked what we can learn from residents in one rural community that will strengthen rural social work practice and policy with older persons. More specifically, the research asked about the intermediate resources needed to age in place, their maintenance in the context of depopulation, and about the role of social work policy and practice with older persons in supporting intermediate resources. -- Described as an emerging construct, intermediate resources are defined as non-intimate, non-professional helping encounters that assist older persons to maintain or restore their capacity to remain in their homes and communities despite health or mobility restrictions. Intermediate resources are operationalized as activities that are provided by local organizations, that are user-driven, and that provide assistance with Instrumental or Advanced Activities of Daily Living. -- The theoretical framework links key principles of community development and critical gerontology - the support and strengthening of existing resources, the creation and facilitation of associations among resources, and the empowerment of individuals and communities to identify their own needs and to define solutions. The data from Leary Harbour demonstrate the relevance of these theoretical constructs, and the corresponding concepts of partnership, participation and self-organization, to the development and maintenance of intermediate resources. -- The study contributes to strengthening social work practice and policy with older persons by providing a framework for assessing the availability and effectiveness of intermediate resources and by bringing forward information about the benefits of, and challenges to, the provision of intermediate resources. The study also identifies social work practices relevant to the development and maintenance of this level of support in rural communities. The practices themselves are not new but are foundational principles of community development in general, and of locality development theory in particular. This research highlights the need to return these considerations to the forefront of professional social work education and practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8948
Item ID: 8948
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 190-216)
Department(s): Social Work, School of
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Older people--Services for--Newfoundland and Labrador; Older people--Social networks--Newfoundland and Labrador; Social service, Rural--Newfoundland and Labrador; Social work with older people--Newfoundland and Labrador

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