Time-Banking and Health: Is It a Suitable and Sustainable Social Capital Building Model for Seniors?

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Ronica ROOKS, University of Colorado Denver, Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences, USA
Sarah MCCARTHY, Fairhill & Company, USA
Our community-academic partnership examined the relationship between time-banking and seniors’ health. Time-banking is a social capital-building strategy (i.e., building trust and reciprocal relationships to facilitate neighbors helping neighbors) for seniors to age-in-community. We examined: 1) if time-banking is a suitable (i.e., members’ socio-demographic characteristics and if/how they perceived participation benefits) and sustainable (i.e., members’ perceived organizational assets versus barriers) model for seniors and 2) the association between time-banking and seniors’ health. We surveyed national and international time-banks from TimeBanks USA and hOur World Exchange directories (n=33) by telephone and emails. We surveyed five Colorado time-banks’ leaders and members aged 55+ (n=54), examining self-reported health, health service use, and the Lubben Social Network (LSNS)-6, Geriatric Depression-15, and Sense of Community Index-2 (SCI-2) scales. We used descriptive analysis to compare Colorado vs. the national and international and older vs. newer time-banks. For suitability, Colorado members were mostly women (78.4%), White (86.8%), in very good/excellent health (69.8%), aged 55-64 (37%) and 65-74 (40.7%), and college educated or higher (66.6%). The median SCI-2 score by time-banks was 38.44 (range 0-72). Colorado’s vs. national and international time-banks were similar except for: the number of factors associated with success and perceptions that time-banking increased self-worth, contributed skills to benefit communities, and reduced dependence on the conventional monetary system. For sustainability, old vs. new national and international time-banks were significantly different on perceptions of: the nature of communities and a bad economy as assets and difficulties with the time-banking software and insufficient funding as barriers. The LSNS-6 was significantly different across Colorado time-banks by age, gender, and income. Our findings emphasize time-banking’s potential to shift emphasis from aging-in-place to aging-in-community for seniors of varying socioeconomic statuses, potentially reducing seniors’ social isolation, transportation difficulties, and healthcare use and costs.