An attempt to minimize the adjustment reaction of aged home entrants in the Greater Cape Town area.

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The literature indicates that admission to an aged home are produces a severe crisis for the aged newcomer. The symptoms resulting from this final move are an increase in affective disturbance (anxiety, depression, hostility and suspiciousness), cognitive disequilibrium (confusion, disorientation and mental disorganization) and social withdrawal (apathy). The present study was designed to assess the efficacy of two different treatment approaches in attenuating this stress. 90 elderly persons admitted into 9 aged homes, a cross-section taken from the Greater Cape Town area, were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (a) Crisis Intervention Group (C.I.) subjects were seen twice weekly for five consecutive weeks in an attempt to minimise the expected adjustment reaction. (b) Social Attachment and Activity Group (S.A.) subjects were seen once a week for the same time period to support the new resident through this difficult transition. (c) Control Group subjects received no treatment either previous or subsequent to location in the hone. Treatment conditions were compared using a within-subject and between-group pre-test post-test follow-up design. Biological, psychological and social levels of functioning were assessed with a battery of tests at three points: on admission to the hone, in the sixth week, and finally, in the third month of residency. Results clearly indicate that the C. I. treatment was the most effective. The nature of the C.I. approach lends itself to wide use by those who have had no specialized training in psychotherapy. This has important implications for the ready improvement of present conditions in residential institutions for the aged.

Bibliography: leaf 342-367.