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Brief Report  |   March 2003
Outcomes of a Pilot Occupational Therapy Wellness Program for Older Adults
Author Affiliations
  • Kathleen Matuska, MPH, OTR/L, is Associate Professor, College of St. Catherine, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55105; Kmatuska@stkate.edu
  • Amy Giles-Heinz, OTR/L, is Instructor, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Nancy Flinn, MA, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Michael Neighbor, MA, OTR/L, was Graduate Student at the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota, at the time of the study
  • Julie Bass-Haugen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minnesota
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Health and Wellness / Departments / Brief Report
Brief Report   |   March 2003
Outcomes of a Pilot Occupational Therapy Wellness Program for Older Adults
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2003, Vol. 57, 220-224. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.2.220
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2003, Vol. 57, 220-224. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.2.220
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a pilot occupational therapy wellness program designed to teach elders the importance of participation in meaningful social and community occupations to their quality of life.

METHOD. Sixty-five older adults participated in this pilot wellness program held at each of three senior apartment complexes. Measures of health-related quality of life using the SF-36 Health Survey and frequencies of social and community participation from a program-specific intake form were completed by 39 participants before and after the 6-month program. Participants also evaluated components of the program through a satisfaction survey.

RESULTS. Scores on the SF-36 Health Survey were significantly higher in vitality, social functioning, and the mental health summary scores following participation in the program. Participants reported an increased frequency of socialization and community participation with an average of 55% participating in at least three or more activities per week before the program to an average of 66% participating after the program. Participants who benefited the most attended more classes, were older, and were nondrivers. Eighty percent of those polled rated the pilot program as good or excellent.

CONCLUSION. This pilot study provides additional support for prevention efforts for elders in the community. Wellness programs for seniors may be most effective if targeted to those who are older and non-drivers.