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Project Independence Impact Study: Report on Key Findings. Marc Silver, Ph.D. H ofstra University The National Center for Suburban Studies Presentation July 29, 2013. Evaluation Research: Purpose and Orientation.

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Project independence impact study report on key findings
Project IndependenceImpact Study:Report on Key Findings

Marc Silver, Ph.D.

Hofstra University

The National Center for Suburban Studies

Presentation July 29, 2013

Evaluation research purpose and orientation
Evaluation Research:Purpose and Orientation

  • An external and independent evaluator provides important data and analysis bearing on program operations. The evaluation researcher functions in several ways:

  • To assess the extent to which a program is operating in a manner that is consistent with its stated intent

  • To assess whether the program is attaining measurable outcomes commensurate with its stated goals

  • To aid the program practitioners in aligning program processes and outcomes with stated goals and objectives


  • The relationship between Project Independence and The National Center for Suburban Studies began in late 2009.

  • Since 2010 NCSS has provided consultation on data acquisition and reports submitted by PI’s subcontracting agencies

  • Prior to the present study, NCSS provided two evaluation analyses:

    • Taxi Service Pilot Program (Oct. 2009 – Feb. 2010)

    • Medical Transportation Program (April – Dec. 2010

Project independence impact study
Project Independence:Impact Study

  • Project Independence’s mission is to assist and enable aging residents of the Town who so desire to remain in their own homes and familiar surroundings as they grow older.

  • The present “impact study” assesses the extent to which the services provided by Project Independence (PI) affect seniors in a manner commensurate with that mission.

  • The focus of the study is on the subjective and social psychological states of seniors that bear on the likelihood of being able to remain in the community as long as they desire in relationship to their awareness of and contact with the services that PI provides.

The research design
The Research Design

  • Sampling:

    • Stratified Random Sample of 370 TNH senior residents based on level of contact with PI.

    • Sampling design intended to provide results that are generalizable to the populations of TNH seniors with varying degrees of formal and informal contact with PI.

The research design1
The Research Design

  • Data Collection

    • Mailed self-report survey

    • Two-wave outreach

    • 54% response rate (198 usable responses)

    • Over-representation of respondents with some degree of contact with PI

    • Over-representation of those living in regions of TNH in which PI has been most active

The results
The Results

  • Demographics

    • Ages: 62 -99; Mean = 82

    • Sex: 66% Female; 34% Male

    • Residency: Median 37.5 years in home; 40 years in community

    • Health: 54% healthy (self-report); 42% have some sort of disability

    • Expenses: 42% report some difficult meeting expenses

The results1
The Results

  • Outcome Measures

    • “Healthy Outlook”: a measure of social and psychological wellbeing encompassing six self-report items in a composite scale

      • Interest in daily activities

      • Social isolation

      • Boredom

      • Meaningful life

      • Participation in activities

      • Satisfaction with life

    • “Stay in Home”:

      • Confidence of remaining in home

      • Importance of remaining in home

      • Satisfaction with life

The results2
The Results

  • PI Measures

    • “PI Awareness”: a single-item measure of respondents’ awareness of the existence of PI and of the services it provides

    • “PI Confidence”: a multi-item scale assessing respondents’ perception of PI as aiding them in aspects of their daily lives

      • In meeting daily challenges

      • In increasing confidence that they will remain in home

      • That they can call on PI for help with problems

      • That PI has increased their connectedness to the community

    • “PI Utilization”: measure of respondents’ actual use of PI services across various areas

The results3
The Results

The central question then is the extent to which there is evidence that respondents’ perceptions of and connection to PI services and programs is related to their confidence that they will be able to remain in their homes, and to their sense of psycho-social wellbeing.

The results4
The Results

  • Key Findings

    • PI Confidence

      • Increases confidence in remaining in one’s own home

      • Increases personal sense of wellbeing (healthy outlook)

    • PI Awareness

      • Increases confidence in remaining in one’s own home

      • Increases personal sense of wellbeing (healthy outlook)

    • The effects of PI confidence and PI Awareness are independent of one another

    • The effects of both PI measures are stable when controlling for demographic variables (age, sex, health, disability, affording expenses, education)

The results5
The Results

  • Key Findings

    • PI Utilization

      • Increases awareness of PI services

      • Increases confidence in PI

      • Is unrelated to “stay in home”

      • Is unrelated to “healthy outlook”

A model of pi impact on seniors
A Model of PI Impact on Seniors

Senior Contact PI Perception Outcome

PI AwarenessHealthy Outlook

PI Usage

PI Confidence Stay in Home


  • Project Independence’s mission is to improve the prospects that seniors can remain in their homes and community for as long as they desire.

  • The results of the present study indicate that PI’s activities and services have a positive impact on seniors in the TNH by:

    • Increasing seniors’ sense of social and psychological wellbeing

    • Increasing seniors’ confidence that they will be able to remain in their own home

  • These effects are related to seniors degree of connectedness to PI services to the extent that they:

    • Are aware of PI services and activities, and

    • Perceive PI as boosting their confidence in their ability to handle the challenges associated with their daily lives, and as providing a safety net should they need PI services


  • The pattern of effects identified by the study suggests that PI’s impact goes beyond utilization of the services it makes available

  • The synergy among utilization of, awareness of, and confidence in PI improves seniors’ outlook on life and optimism for the future.

  • From an evaluation perspective, PI provides services and outcomes that meet the needs of TNH seniors


  • PI should continue to expand its operations throughout the seven regions within TNH

  • Attention should be paid to expanding those efforts that publicize PI and increase residents’ awareness of PI’s presence and the nature of services that it provides