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Senior CAN 

From: Best practice guidelines for mental health promotion programs: Older adults 55+ (© 2010, 2011 CAMH)

Goals and objectives

  • to increase older adults’ ability to decipher the overwhelming body of information on health and wellness, thereby increasing their sense of control over their lives.


Senior CAN was a wellness education program for older people. It provided education in an interactive setting and encouraged participants to try something new in each lesson. During 15 workshop sessions, older adults learned about and discussed nutrition, hygiene and fall prevention, among other topics (Guideline 5).

Senior CAN used volunteers from two groups: peer educators from the target audience over 55 years of age and volunteers from agencies that already provided service to elderly clients. Using a train-the-trainer model, volunteers were given basic training in teaching skills for conducting and facilitating an interactive class (Guideline 4). Representatives of ethnic minorities were trained to act as peer educators (Guideline 8).

To assess the overall impact of Seniors CAN, a pre-/post-test design was employed, using the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978*) and the Mastery Scale (Russell et al., 1980*), along with a newly developed instrument to assess participants’ increased knowledge on nutrition, safety and wellness information presented during the lessons.

The program expanded to senior centres across Nevada, and the train-the-trainer workshops are expanding program delivery into other states (Guideline 11).

Additional information

Start date  1998 
Guideline 1: Audience, specific populations 
  • older adults (aged 55 and over) 
Guideline 2: Protective and risk factors, and determinants of health 

Protective factors

  • opportunites for lifelong learning

Risk factors

  • stress
  • loneliness
  • sense of loss of control

Determinants of health

  • economic status
  • ethnicity 
Guideline 3: Multiple settings 
  • seniors centres 
Guideline 7: Multiple strategies 
  • workshops
  • community-based education in an interactive setting
  • train-the-trainer 
Guideline 9: Multiple stakeholders 
  • University of Nevada Co-operative Extension
    • nutrition professionals
    • researchers of aging
  • Las Vegas Housing Authority
  • Nevada Housing and Neighborhood Development 
Guideline 11: Evaluation  yes 
Learn more 


In Best practice guidelines for mental health promotion programs: Older Adults 55+

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