Community participation and Health promotion for senior citizens
By MinGyu Choi
The purpose of this study was to reveal, through qualitative research, how the physical, mental and social awareness and behavior of a long-term care prevention activity group of senior Japanese citizens has changed, and to investigate what kind of relationship these qualities have. These two objectives were to be achieved by analyzing the aforementioned group's participation in activities from the start of their participation to present. As an example of this process, the Tsurugaya Refresh Club, found in the Tsurugaya district of Sendai City, was selected. This was due to said district having the highest percentage of senior citizens in Sendai City at38.5%, and due to the Club independently conducting long-term care prevention activities.
As a result, consciousness about one's physical and mental health changed by improving human relations (social health) leading to a change in behavior towards long-term care prevention activities in everyday life. From these results, it could be seen that one's social health provides support for one's physical and mental health. In addition, by continuing with participation in such activities, participants developed an interest in the local area, in turn leading to further participation in other social situations, thus resulting in a cyclical effect of improving human relations. It is in cyclical processes such as these that we find an abundance of social capital.
Additionally, regarding the management of independent groups involved in long-term care prevention activities, it was found that participants felt a great burden when first experiencing a management role. However, it was also found that this burden could be reduced by conducting learning activities about health and by sharing information about health among managers. Consequently, management processes such as these play a role for the managers themselves in changing their own awareness and behavior regarding their health.
As mentioned above, activities conducted through participation in independent long-term care prevention activity groups also perform a role in the realization of health promotion.