Relocation and its impact on health among elderly people in Japan and Korea: evaluation of a support program to facilitate adaptation for environmental change

Research Project , Research Report 2007

Ichiro KAI Professor of Social Gerontology, School of Public Health,The University of Tokyo
Tami SAITO Research Associate of Social Gerontology, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo
Hyunjung LEE Doctor course Student of Social Gerontology, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo
Ayako TAKIZAWA Doctor course Student of Medicine & Law, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo

Abstract

We conducted a preliminary intervention study regarding mitigation of social isolation among the relocated elderly. A quasi-experimental design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention.
The subjects were aged 65 and over who had moved to A City, Tokyo, within the two years previous to the study. Those who responded to an initial questionnaire survey and who agreed to participate in the intervention were randomly assigned to the intervention (n=21) and control (n=42) groups. The intervention consisted of four group sessions which focused on information provision and the facilitating of networking in the community in order to prevent isolation. The sessions were conducted during September and October in 2006.
The effects of the intervention on the relocated elderly were assessed using questionnaires conducted one month and six months after the sessions. The intervention group showed statistically significant improvement in the various indicators for physical and psychological health and social isolation.
We conclude that the support program is effective in promoting the health and ameliorating social isolation for relocated elderly in the immediate and short time.

Keywords:

relocation, elderly people, support program, intervention, social isolation