New York Senior Center Uses AHRQ Videonovela to Educate About Type 2 Diabetes

Patient Safety
May 2014

Casa Boricua Senior Center, part of the Neighborhood Self Help by Older Persons Project in the Bronx, New York, used AHRQ's three-episode Spanish-language video, "Aprende a vivir (Learn to Live)," to help educate Hispanic seniors about type 2 diabetes management by incorporating the video into a theatrical production.

Miriam Clavasquin, program director at Casa Boricua, says, "A large majority of the seniors we serve are of Puerto Rican descent. Many of them have diabetes and other health conditions, such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol."

Darlene Serrano, Casa Boricua's activities coordinator, led the seniors in a theatrical reenactment of the videonovela. The script was adapted to reflect colloquial Spanish terms used by Puerto Ricans. To mirror the reality of seniors in the area, a new character, "la abuela" (grandmother) was incorporated into the script. The play premiered in September 2012, and more than 50 seniors attended the performance. Serrano says, "It was a day where the seniors shined and the dialogue about diabetes type 2 was elevated to the front stage."

As a result of the play, nearly 100 videonovela kits were distributed to help educate others in the community, including seniors from nearby centers. Within weeks after the theatrical performance, the videonovela was presented three more times to approximately 40 additional seniors. Before viewing the videonovela, many seniors were unaware of the ramifications of not taking medications and following dosage instructions.

Serrano explains, "The videonovela was more effective than using a traditional conference format. It grabbed the attention of the seniors because they connected with the tone and language in it. The majority of the seniors who watched the videonovela learned and understood the message about the importance of taking their diabetes medications as prescribed. The emphasis on diet and portions helped them understand how to eat better and follow a special diet."

Casa Boricua has served seniors in the Bronx and surrounding areas since July 2005. It is part of the nonprofit, multiservice agency Neighborhood Self Help by Older Persons Project, Inc. The center provides a variety of services, including an on-site meal program, benefits and entitlement case assistance, health promotion classes, weekly blood pressure checks, and outdoor recreational activities.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Aprende a Vivir
Topics(s): Health Literacy, Chronic Care, Aging, Disparities
Geographic Location: New York
Implementer: Casa Boricua Senior Center
Date: 05/20/2014

Videonovela Aprende a vivir, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Page last reviewed May 2014