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Aging-simulation experience: impact on health professionals’ social representations

  • Giner Perot, Julie1, 2
  • Jarzebowski, Witold3
  • Lafuente-Lafuente, Carmelo1, 4
  • Crozet, Cyril2
  • Belmin, Joël1, 2, 4
  • 1 Hôpital Charles Foix, Ivry-sur-Seine, 94200, France , Ivry-sur-Seine (France)
  • 2 Université Paris 13, Bobigny, France , Bobigny (France)
  • 3 Centre hospitalier de Bastia, Bastia, France , Bastia (France)
  • 4 Sorbonne Université, Paris, France , Paris (France)
Published Article
BMC Geriatrics
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Jan 22, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12877-019-1409-3
Springer Nature


BackgroundHealth professionals working with older persons are not sufficiently aware of the sensory and functional difficulties experienced by older patients. Innovative educational activities, such as the aging-simulation experience, can facilitate this awareness. This study describes the effects of an aging-simulation experience on health professionals’ representations towards age-related limitations.Methods306 health professionals, enrolled in university training in geriatrics/gerontology in the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 academic years, experienced an aging-simulation session wearing a special suit according to a predefined scenario. Before and after the aging-simulation experience, participants completed free association tests, with the inductive words vision, hearing, movement, fine dexterity and balance. Semantic categories were created from participants’ free evocations using a correspondence table manually produced in Excel 2013 for Windows (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington). Moreover, participants’ opinions on difficulties experienced by older people in relation to age-related limitations were studied using Likert scale questions.ResultsIn total, 3060 free evocations were collected, and ten semantic categories were created. These categories were composed of participants’ geriatric knowledge, about age-related limitations, and participants’ feelings, about the experience of these limitations. These two aspects were impacted by the aging-simulation experience. Moreover, changes observed resulted in a better consideration of difficulties associated with age-related limitations.ConclusionsThe aging-simulation experience is an effective educational tool to raise awareness among health professionals of age-related difficulties. This sensory activity allows health professionals to put themselves in the shoes of older patients and to feel age-related difficulties.

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