- Over a period of rapid growth and geographical expansion, what changes can be identified in the characteristics, location and social circumstances of the volunteers, and how should these be recognised in the planning of their training and support?
- To what extent may this successful model of voluntary social care be transferrable to other middle-income countries with similar economic, geographical and political features; and to what extent is its success predicated on the unique religious ecology of the Catholic Church of Brazil?
- How has the PPI movement responded to Covid-19? Specifically, how is the pandemic affecting the lives of older people, how are the APs mitigating its effects and is the movement capable of providing resilience in the face of this and future disease events?
- To minimise the risk of false-positive results arising from the random spread of multiple comparisons, the Bonferroni Correction was applied. Eight items from the questionnaire were subjected to correlational analysis (excluding items 4, 9, 10, 12–21) giving a theoretical maximum of comparisons as 36. The Bonferroni correction, gives a revised critical probability level of 0.05/36 = 0.0014 or 0.001 with rounding (Field 2013). Because of the large sample size, where correlations are identified they are typically in the range p < 0.001 and sufficient account of theBonferroni correction can be taken, but where p > 0.001, this is indicated and the finding was treated as of unproven significance.
- Where one of the items being compared comprised continuous data, one-way ANOVA was used. Although it was not possible to establish in each case that the data fulfilled the assumption of normality, ANOVA is robust to such violations (Field 2013, pp. 184, 444). Detailed post-hoc modelling was not attempted because of the limitations of the data, but when significant correlations were identified, inferences were drawn by comparing means for the different categories of the test variable.
- Where one or both of the items being compared was scored as ordinal data, Kruskal–Wallis H was used as the appropriate non-parametric test of relationship. Where a significant correlation was identified, means for the grouping variable were compared visually to determine the nature of the relationship. This procedure was purely for comparative purposes, as means produced by ordinal data lack construct validity, but identified variables that appeared to be varying in comparable ways.
- Item relationships that achieved statistical significance were collated and tabulated as in Table 2 below. Examination of the ways in which correlations clustered then made it possible to develop initial hypotheses regarding the changing characteristics of APs and of their role both over time and in particular in response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
5.1. Observations from Descriptive Statistics
5.2. Observations from Comparative Statistics
6.1. Characteristics of APs
- Since the characteristics of recruits are changing, training and support may need to take account of this. For example, recruits are younger, healthier and potentially more active, but may therefore have more commitments and less time to devote to training. The increasing proportion from rural areas and small settlements may have more difficulty accessing training events or support from regional coordinators. Finally, in more rural areas APs are likely to be working in relative isolation, and the development of the training and support programme needs to take this into account.
- The average number of PIs being supported is encouraging at 7.41, suggesting that the programme has a substantial contribution to make to the wellbeing of older people across Brazil. However, this figure conceals a wide variation in the number of older people supported. Only three respondents said that they were not currently supporting any PIs, but further work to uncover the sources of the variation, and whether improved support would benefit those who are not currently very active, is advisable.
6.2. The Reach and Exportability of PPI
6.3. Pastoral Support in a Time of Covid-19
- What changes can be identified in the characteristics, location and social circumstances of the volunteers?
- To what extent may this successful model of voluntary social care be transferrable to other middle-income countries with similar economic, geographical and political features?
- What has the PPI movement contributed to the response to Covid-19?
Conflicts of Interest
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“De diversas formas, os líderes comunitários da Pastoral da Pessoa Idosa colaboram para a construção de redes com foco no envelhecimento. Nas visitas domiciliares estreitam laços entre os conviventes, sempre respeitando a dinâmica, as particularidades e a história familiar. É quando falam sobre aspectos relativos à promoção de saúde para os idosos acompanhados”.
Some items that were not used in the analysis for this paper have been removed for simplicity.
Some coordinators included all people in their region, so figures > 20 have been excluded.
The uneven size categories follow standard divisions in Brazilian research.
The number and percentage in brackets indicates how many respondents selected only this answer from the available ones.
Outliers removed where number >20, as these were likely to be for coordinators counting all PIs in their area.
|Item||Sample Size (N)||Data Type|
|1||Age||3865||Cs||Mean = 55.38 |
Median = 56
SD = 11.89
|2||Sex||3888||Cl||Female: 3567 (91.7%)|
Male: 321 (9.3%)
|3||How many do you live with?||3888||O||Alone 587 (15%)|
Spouse 1046 (27%)
2 or more 2255 (58%)
|4||Health||3888||O||Good 3030 (78%)|
Regular 844 (22%)
Bad 14 (<1%)
|5||How many illnesses do you have||3888||Cs||Mean 0.78|
|6||How many years have you been an AP?||3888||Cs||<1 year 631 (16%)|
1–3 years 1574 (40%)
4–7 years 970 (25%)
8–10 years 417 (11%)
>11 years 296(8%)
|7||Settlement size||2284||O||>1 m 201 (9%)|
500,001 to 1 m 110 (5%)
300,001 to 500,000 174 (8%)
100,001 to 300,000 370 (16%)
50,001 to 100,000 319 (14%)
10,001 to 50,000 318 (14%)
5001 to 20,000 416 (18%)
<5000 176 (8%)
Rural 200 (9%)
|8||How many elderly people are you accompanying?||37823||Cs||Mean: 7.41|
|9||How old are the people accompanied?||3888||O||60–65 = 972 (162 p.a)|
66–74 = 1988 (221 p.a)
75–89 = 2800 (200 p.a)
90–99 = 834 (83.4 p.a.)
Over 100 years old = 112
(See note below)4
|10||What motivates you?||3888||Cl||Follow Christian teachings 2186 (56%)|
I like spending time and learning with the elderly 2180 (56%)
Helping to improve the life quality of older people 2514 (65%)
Defending the rights of the elderly 1607 (41%)
Being a volunteer enriches me as a human being 2727 (70%)
Another Reason 224 (6%)
|11||In the last week, how many people were you in contact with?||3888||Cs||Mean = 4.83|
Median = 4
SD = 6.10
|12||By what means?||3888||Cl||1. Telephone = 2125 (1141, 29%)5 |
2. Letter = 11 (3, <1%)
3. Email = 16 (0)
4. WhatsApp = 1393 (457, 12%)
5. Other = 910 (576, 15%)
|13||In the last week, how did you help people?||3888||Cl||Well-being support (offering company, emotional or spiritual support) = 1047 (327, 8%)|
General advice = 1032 (106, 3%)
Advice about living with coronavirus outbreak = 1948 (797, 20%)
Other = 471 (205, 5%)
Advice about how to live better during the outbreak = 1165 (160, 3%)
|14||Over the last week, how did you offer the elderly people practical support?||3888||Cl||Making a telephone call, letter or email = 0|
Shopping for necessities = 782 (311, 8%)
Contacting relatives or friends who can supply help = 982 (346, 9%)
Referral to another agency, such as the hospital or social services = 780 (232, 6%)
Any other form of practical support = 406 (240, 6%)
Participated or organized collection of food and hygiene materials or making masks for donation = 1072 (459, 12%)
No answer = 1393
|15||What effect has the pandemic had on increasing isolation and loneliness?||3888||O||No effect = 31|
Small effect = 105
Medium effect = 732
Big effect = 3020
|16||What effect has the pandemic had on making people more anxious or confused?||3888||O||No effect = 19|
Small effect = 99
Medium effect = 860
Big effect = 2910
|17||What effect has the pandemic had on making it more difficult to get practical necessities of life?||3888||O||No effect = 33|
Small effect = 124
Medium effect = 881
Big effect = 2850
|18||What effect has the pandemic had on making it more difficult to get help from government?||3888||O||No effect = 103|
Small effect = 219
Medium effect = 1251
Big effect = 2315
|19||Which of these changes have come about as a result of social isolation?||3888||Cl||Stimulated intergenerational interaction = 1063|
Solitude = 1644
Stimulated solidarity = 2905
The search for a spirituality = 2713
Encouraged the search for the meaning of life = 2456
Increased domestic violence = 1073
Other = 219
|20||What difficulties did you encounter carrying out the PPI monitoring during the Pandemic?||3888||Cl||I didn’t have any difficulties = 1863|
Not having electronic equipment (cell phone, computer, etc.) = 625
Not knowing how to use digital technology = 593
Having no strong digital signal in the region where you live = 188
Other = 619
(Dependent for ANOVA)
(Factor for ANOVA)
|AP age||Number of illnesses suffered||F 53.122||0.000||Older APs have more illnesses|
|AP age||Number of people lived with||F 208.825||0.000||Younger APs live in larger households|
|AP age||Number of years as AP||F 84.299||0.000||Younger APs are more recent recruits|
|AP age||How would you describe the region where you work?||F 11.886||0.000||Smallest settlements have younger APs|
|How many elderly people are you accompanying?6||How would you describe the region where you work?||F 9.422||0.000||APs in smaller settlements have more PIs|
|How many elderly people are you accompanying?||Sex||F 16.186||0.000||Males accompany fewer PIs|
|Total illnesses per APS||Sex||F 16.186||0.000||Males have fewer illnesses|
|Total illnesses per APS||How many people do you live with?||F 10.714||0.000||APs in larger households have fewer illnesses|
|How many people do you live with?||How would you describe the region where you work?||H 12.271||0.002||More rural APs live in larger households|
|How would you describe the region where you work?||Total illnesses per APS||H 11.355||0.003||More recent recruits have fewer illnesses|
|How many years have you been a Pastoral Agent?||Sex||F18.040||0.000||More recent recruits are more likely to be male|
|How many years have you been a Pastoral Agent?||How many people do you live with?||F9.815||0.000||More recent recruits live in larger households|
|How many years have you been a Pastoral Agent?||Total illnesses per APS||F8.737||0.000||More recent recruits have fewer illnesses|
|How many years have you been a Pastoral Agent?||How many elderly people are you accompanying?||F7.460||0.000||More recent recruits have fewer PIs|
|How many years have you been a Pastoral Agent?||How would you describe the region where you work?||F11.014||0.000||More recent recruits are likely to live in smaller settlements|
|In the last week, how many people have you accompanied?||How would you describe the region where you work?||F2.182||0.042||Higher numbers in large (>1 m) and small <50 K settlements|
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