Self-Efficacy: A Person’s belief in his/her ability to succeed in a particular situation.
Conquering any difficulty always gives one a SECRET JOY, for it means pushing back a boundry line and adding to one’s liberty.
-Henri Frederic Ameil
Aging in Place and Self-Efficacy
Psychologist Dr. Albert Bandura, developed a theory that’s useful not only in the field of psychology, but gerontology as well. The concept is called “Self-efficacy.”
A WEAK self-efficacy includes the following:
~Believe difficult tasks and situations are beyond your capabilities
~Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes
~Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities
A STRONG self-efficacy on the other-hand includes:
~View challenges and problems as tasks to be mastered
~Develop deeper interests in activities in which you participate
~You form a stronger sense of commitment to your interests and activities
~You recover quicker from setbacks and disappointments
Can you see how having a STRONG self-efficacy could benefit older adults who desire to remain home by choice?
Self-efficacy has 4 main sources; and for this post I will cover the first which is “mastery experiences.” That is, when performing a task successfully, the potential for a Mastery Experience to stregthen one’s sense of self-efficacy is realized. And aging in place affords the opportunity for mastery experiences.
This is a very real psychological dividend for seniors (and boomers) living independently. Custodial environments such as nursing homes, and often many assisted living facilities, limit the chances for mastery experiences. For some this is the goal, but there are those who seek out challenge and new experiences well into old age. It’s for those souls who do not take the path-of-least-resistance, but instead choose to live fully to the end, that we are modeling for a new old age.
What is Self-Efficacy?