Objectives: This article describes the development, content, feasibility and first results of a short educational program for preparing for aging, based on the process model of proactive coping. The aim of the program is to increase proactive competencies and improve proactive orientations and behaviour. The program consists of four-weekly meetings with 8-10 participants and is given by trainers of about the same age as the participants.
Methods: Sixty-eight persons (M=61.4 years) participated in the program. Feasibility included attendance, participants evaluations of the meetings and the applicability of the used techniques. Proactive coping was measured as proactive orientation, behaviour and competencies.
Results: The program received positive evaluations, the attendance rate was very satisfying, and the applicability of the used techniques have been shown. Regarding the technique of mental simulation, improvements were suggested. We found gender differences concerning feasibility: women evaluated the program to be easier and reported to have profited more from mental simulation. Preliminary results of proximal outcome variables showed significant changes in proactive competencies, but no changes in proactive behaviour and proactive orientation.
Conclusions: The educational program "In anticipation of the golden years" is a theoretical based minimal intervention which is highly feasible and effective in improving proactive competencies.