Experience Corps: A dual trial to promote the health of older adults and children's academic success

Linda P. Fried, Michelle C. Carlson, Sylvia McGill, Teresa Seeman, Qian Li Xue, Kevin Frick, Erwin Tan, Elizabeth K. Tanner, Jeremy Barron, Constantine Frangakis, Rachel Piferi, Iveris Martinez, Tara Gruenewald, Barbara K. Martin, Laprisha Berry-Vaughn, John Stewart, Kay Dickersin, Paul R. Willging, George W. Rebok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: As the population ages, older adults are seeking meaningful, and impactful, post-retirement roles. As a society, improving the health of people throughout longer lives is a major public health goal. This paper presents the design and rationale for an effectiveness trial of Experience Corps™, an intervention created to address both these needs. This trial evaluates (1) whether senior volunteer roles within Experience Corps™ beneficially impact children's academic achievement and classroom behavior in public elementary schools and (2) impact on the health of volunteers. Methods: Dual evaluations of (1) an intention-to-treat trial randomizing eligible adults 60 and older to volunteer service in Experience Corps™, or to a control arm of usual volunteering opportunities, and (2) a comparison of eligible public elementary schools receiving Experience Corps™ to matched, eligible control schools in a 1:1 control:intervention school ratio. Outcomes: For older adults, the primary outcome is decreased disability in mobility and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL). Secondary outcomes are decreased frailty, falls, and memory loss; slowed loss of strength, balance, walking speed, cortical plasticity, and executive function; objective performance of IADLs; and increased social and psychological engagement. For children, primary outcomes are improved reading achievement and classroom behavior in Kindergarten through the 3rd grade; secondary outcomes are improvements in school climate, teacher morale and retention, and teacher perceptions of older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 5 2013

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Keywords

  • Children's academic success
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Health promotion
  • Healthy aging
  • Intergenerational programs
  • Senior service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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