Completed projects

Impact of health, social burden and community design on participation and autonomy of the aged: analysis of individual and regional resources
Investigators:- Dr. A. Mielck  (PI), W. Maier (Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen)
- Prof. Dr. E. Grill (Institute of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences,
 Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich)
Funded by:BMBF  (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research)
Duration:August 2011 - July 2014
Description:The link between participation and autonomy on one hand and physical and mental health on the other is well known, and the association between built, social and economic environment and participation is very plausible. However, to date these issues have rarely been studied in Germany. The KORA research platform in Augsburg (Southern Germany) offers a unique possibility to assess the character and strength of these associations in an ageing population in Germany.
Objectives:The project focuses on older adults in the Augsburg region (i.e. the city of Augsburg including the surrounding communities). It addresses three questions: (a) How close is the association between participation and autonomy on one hand and individual characteristics (namely health status, frailty and disability) on the other? (b) What is the impact of the built, social and economic environment on participation? (c) Are there discrepancies between wished for and practised participation, and between perceived and objective resources, facilitators and barriers?
Besides advancing our understanding concerning the link between social participation and health or disability, the results will be of practical importance for older adults, mainly by developing an agenda aimed at improving their chances for social participation and good health.
Methods:There are four work packages: (a) About 700 participants, who have already been examined in the KORA Age 1 study, will be re-examined and interviewed in order to analyse the determinants and correlates of participation on the individual level. (b) The regional distribution of social deprivation will be assessed for the communities and for  inner-city areas within these communities. (c) The local resources and barriers for older persons will be mapped for six inner-city areas . A focus group will be established in each of these areas in order to assess attitudes, opinions and perceptions on participation and health. (d) The results of the previous work-packages will be presented to local and national authorities on order to trigger initiatives that may help to develop community-based programs targeted on participation of the aged.
Participation is assessed by items derived from the 'Activities and Participation' component of the 'International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health'. Disability is assessed by the 'Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI)'. Resources and barriers for social participation are examined from the individual perspective, and by assessing the actual provision of services and resources in the neighbourhood. Social inequalities are assessed, for example, by subjective social status.