Our nation is experiencing unprecedented demographic changes with the aging of the population. Older adults often struggle to maintain quality of life and independence in the presence of chronic diseases and prevailing illness; for low income elders with limited access to a resource-rich, supportive environment, these challenges are even more profound. Self-care/self-management behaviors are extremely important in the older adult population to increase quality of life and general health.
NUCare’s goal is to develop nursing research expertise and effective interventions in the area of self- management for older adults at risk for poor health outcomes.
The main innovation of NUCare comes from the synergistic interplay of emphasizing the following in all of our proposed research:
- Focus on self-care and self-management: Self-care and self-management play an increasing role, both within and outside clinical settings, in preventing and managing chronic disease. Such strategies have the potential to improve quality of life, decrease the cost of care, and be tailored to the needs and cultures of diverse populations, including the low income African American and Latino communities which are our Center’s main focus. These strategies may be particularly essential for baby boomers, who will not be bystanders in the formulation of their care plans, and who can benefit greatly from some of the new technologies discussed in this application.
- Focus on technology: NUCare will facilitate researchers’ use of technologies such as sensors, mobile phones, and other communication devices to amplify the scalability, timeliness, and intensity of these interventions.
- Focus on populations affected by health disparities: NUCare’s primary, though not exclusive, focus is on urban low income, African American and Latino populations affected by disparity in chronic disease and other concerns that affect healthy aging. The Center brings together a multidisciplinary research team with extensive experience in working with these populations, including team members with strong backgrounds in the kind of community based participatory research that can help engage patients and other community members in identifying and pursuing research questions and potential outcomes of interest to these communities.
- Strong connections to community health centers and other community-based healthcare and social service providers: While much can be learned from nursing research that focuses on large academic medical centers and other hospitals, Northeastern University’s strength is the exceptional track record of our multidisciplinary teams in conducting research in partnership with community health centers, local public health departments, senior agencies, housing authorities, and community-based organizations upon which so many members of our target population depend for primary care, preventive services and other services that influence the social determinants of health.