Current position: Professor and Associate Dean
Institution /Faculty /Department : Department of Health Promotion and Education, Education College, National Taiwan Normal University
Professor and Associate Dean Jong-Long Guo received his PhD in Health Education, specializing in health promotion for the elderly, from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a Gerontologist and has an extensive background in the development of evidence-based health promotion program and program evaluation for the elderly. He has authored more than 50 referral books and articles in fields. He was the director of NTNU Gerontology Program at College of Education before. His research interest is to identify and intervene the factors associated with physical, mental and social health problems among community-dwelling and institutionalized older adults. Currently, he developed scientific evidence of health outcomes and evaluations such as older adults’ health conditions and access to health promotion activities. He laid the groundwork of several well-known health programs for the elderly on aromatherapy therapy, horticulture therapy and CKD disease management in Taiwan.
Aim: Institutionalized older adults might be limited to weather, resource, environment and setting factors that prevent they from conducting horticultural activities to promote physical and mental health. The aim of study was to explore the effects of combination of three-dimensional (3D) virtual reality (VR) and horticultural therapy (HT) for institutionalized older adults’ physical and mental health.
Methods: The study applied a quasi-experimental design. A total of 106 older adults from two long-term care facility were recruited and assigned to experimental (n=59) and control (n=47) groups respectively. The experimental participants received nine-week intervention, whereas the counterparts in the control group did not receive any intervention. Both groups completed three assessments at baseline, after the intervention, and two-month follow-up after the intervention. The outcome variables included health status, meaning in life, perceived mattering, loneliness, and depression.
Results: Results of generalized estimating equation (GEE) analyses indicated that the experimental group made significant improvements compared to the counterparts of the comparison group after intervention in term of the scores of health status, meaning in life, perceived mattering, depression, and loneliness after the intervention and two-month follow-up after the intervention completion (all outcome variables, p<0.001).
Conclusion: This study is the first trial to verify the effectiveness of combination of 3D VR and hand-on HT in improving older adults’ physical and mental health. The results are promising for supporting future successful implementation of similar program for institutionalized older adults and applicability to large scale of populations.