Practical Skills for Healthful Aging: On our Two-year Partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Since July 2015, India Home has been partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK)’s Geriatric Resource Interprofessional Program (GRIP) to provide evidence-based and culturally responsive education to South Asian older adults in Queens, NY. This education aims to increase community awareness of geriatric syndromes – problems that usually have more than one cause and involve many parts of the body – and promote methods that aid healthy aging.

“What can I do next? : Teaching Practical skills for better Aging

Starting with needs assessments conducted at India Home sites, the GRIP team and staff from India Home developed a core lesson plan that India Home members were interested in learning about.

manpreet

Manpreet of MSKCC explains medication management at India Home

These topics include: falls prevention, how to modify one’s home for safety, memory loss,and medication management. Clinical experts like occupational and physical therapists, geriatric pharmacists, physicians and nurse practitioners developed the lessons. All presentations and educational materials were designed with the adult learner in mind, providing practical skills and always trying to answer, “what can I do next?”. Educational sessions are continuously scheduled at all India Home sites and are repeated on rotation, so that our seniors understand and remember the content.

India Home and MSKCC’s GRIP team collaborates with other South Asian community organizations, like the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) to review content for understanding and the ability to take action with specific cultural considerations in mind. We are always thinking about what works in the South Asian context.

With cultural relevance in mind, MSK translates written materials into South Asian languages and uses live interpreters at presentations. We also evaluate our results by asking small groups of seniors about their understanding and effectiveness of the educational programs.

Over 700 seniors educated

Since November 2015, the partnership has educated approximately 700 seniors at four different India Home sites. MSK, India Home and SACSS staff circulate pre-and post-education surveys to measure how much our seniors have learned and retained, and how they have changed their behavior. The surveys use open ended questions and one-month follow up questions. Take home messages and resource sheets are also provided to our seniors to refer in the future.

Overall, the partnership is aimed at improving the quality of life and health of older adults by educating them.

These efforts attempt to make changes in their behavior – for instance walking carefully or improving safety in the home by installing shower rails – that will positively impact their aging and improve their quality of life. 

 Content contributed by Natalie Gangain of MSKCC (edited for context and clarity by India Home)