Team3   Social Activity Support / Active Elderly People Research Team

No.2  Collaborating with gas companies to support elderly people living alone in the community

Leader:Michie Baba(Associate Professor of Faculty of Medicine)

Study on the communication skills training program for community-based elderly care support through industry-academia-government collaboration

Our unique education program helps improve skills in communication with elderly people

An article was published in the Medical Bulletin of Fukuoka University showing that the education program for community-based elderly care support through industry-academia-government collaboration contributed to improvement in communication skills. Click here for the article.

Our society is aging rapidly, with the population starting to decline. Therefore, we need to develop new lifestyles and social systems that meet the needs of an era of super-aging and longevity. Local company employees in their late middle age are expected to participate in creating a community-based integrated care system, but there are very few reports on activities related to community-based elderly care support by late middle aged employees from companies.

To enable gas company meter readers to participate in community-based care support for the elderly, we have developed a communication skills training program designed with a focus on "health" and "watchful care" in nursing, and have also conducted an assessment of the program.

The program was conducted in eight sessions, involving step-by-step learning in lectures, exercises, and practical training (Fig. 1). We assessed the lectures and exercises in terms of level of understanding (questionnaire) and on the basis of free comments, and used 12 items of the communication self-evaluation scale to assess the exercises and practical training.


As a result of the program, there was a significant improvement in basic communication skills, including being attentive when listening, showing agreement and understanding, repeating words to facilitate understanding, confirming and summarizing, and refraining from inappropriate body language. In the free comments, program participants wrote about being aware of elderly people's perspective and contributing to society. By participating in the program, the meter readers became aware of the elderly people in the community, developed an interest in engaging in communication at various levels, not only with individuals and family members but also from company to community, and deepened their understanding of elderly people. This suggests that their communication skills had improved, and thus that the program had been effective. Building on this program, the gas company has developed its own elderly-care support system in an effort to contribute to the community even further, and we have seen improvement in the care support activities carried out by its employees (Fig.2).

The program was designed to address the issues arising within aging communities, which led to an initiative to provide better elderly care support. The initiative serves as a model for leveraging knowledge in nursing care and developing ties between community members through industry-academia-government collaboration.

We are currently engaged in follow-up workshops, working with the local government toward further continuation and development of the program.