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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

CSULB Gerontology Student Research 2014

An Educational Curriculum on Death and Dying for Caregivers in California Assisted Living

Jessica Brenner

The purpose of this project was to develop a curriculum addressing the topic of death and dying for unlicensed professional caregivers in assisted living. By understanding the course of death through a well-rounded gerontological approach, it is expected that unlicensed assisted living caregivers will be able to provide better, more informed care to their residents and address their own emotions concerning death. This curriculum includes four major topics: physical changes during death and  dying, psychosocial changes during death and dying, communication with the dying and their loved ones, and professional grief management and support. Each topic also contains prompted discussion questions and interactive group activities. Two expert reviewers and the program developer’s committee members evaluated the course and offered suggestions for further development. These recommendations were then incorporated into the final version of the curriculum

Factors Associated with Poor Oral Health Among Older Adults

Joy Dias

The purpose of this study was to assess factors affecting oral health practices among adults 65 years of age and older, in an urban dental practice. The study looked at factors contributing to overall oral health including (a) age, (b) sex, (c) annual income, (d) diagnosed illness, (e) the number of prescribed medications being taken, and (f) highest education completed A convenience sample was obtained in the city of San Jose, California from a dental office. The researcher presented specific self-made surveys for his research on oral health to eligible participants in order to measure oral health. The significance level utilized on each hypothesis was p < .05. A total of 100 qualified surveys were used for analysis. Results showed that there was no significant relationship with the factor of sex. However, there was a significant relationship among all other factors and brushing at least twice a day. Future studies in a different setting or having a larger sample may be more appropriate to confirm or deny findings.

Knowledge and Attitudes about Advance Health Care Directives Among Community Dwelling Hispanic Older Adults

Alma C. Madrid

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the knowledge and attitudes about advance health care directives among community dwelling Hispanic older adults. The theme that emerged from 10 interviews was shared decision-making; with the older adult having the power to make autonomous decisions regarding their own end of life medical care and diffusing controls to external factors such as family, God, and doctors. Although respondents viewed the advance health care directive as a positive tool for end of life decision making, barriers to completion included (a) lack of knowledge, (b) lack of initiative on the part of the older adult and the physician to discuss end of life care, (c) health status, (d) religious beliefs, and (e) provoking sadness and worry within the family. Education and resources should be directed to the responsible parties in end of life decision making, including the older Hispanic adult, family, and physician.

Exercises for Older Adults with Dementia:  A Meta-Analysis

Christine Weber

The purpose of this study was to identify, through meta-analytical techniques, evidence-based recommendations for the type, frequency, and duration of exercise to slow the progression of dementia. Inclusion criteria were that the research had to be published between January 2000 and January 2012 and include both pre- and post-Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores. After conducting extensive computer-aided and manual searches, eight studies were chosen for analysis. Of those eight studies, one study in particular indicated the optimal type, frequency, and duration of exercise to slow the progression of dementia, which was walking four times per week for thirty minutes per session. Future research should include the impact of other forms of exercise on the progression of dementia and the role of physicians in the prescription of exercise to slow the progression of dementia.






Jessica Brenner, M.S.

B.S. University of Arizona



Dias Joy

Joy Dias, M.S.

B.D.S Ghandi University, Bangalore


Madrid Alma

Alma Madrid, M.S.

B.S. California State University Long Beach

Weber, C.

Christine, Weber, M.S.

B.B.A. College of William and Mary