IRB Number


Date of Award

Fall 9-2-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Susan MacDermott, OTD, OTR/L, Doctoral Coordinator

Second Advisor

Becki Cohill, OTD, OTR/L, Doctoral Coordinator

Third Advisor

Erin Schwier, EdD, OTD, OTR/L, Program Director

Medical Subject Headings

COVID-19, Aged, Social Participation, Social Behavior, Occupational Therapy, Needs Assessment,


COVID-19 brought about social distancing mandates that posed as a new barrier to meaningful social participation in the community. The purpose of this project was to understand the impact of social distancing on older adults and senior organizations to better inform the role of OT in helping seniors adapt towards a new normal within the community. A qualitative study and needs assessment were performed through phone interviews with seniors and organizations that support them from around the United States. Themes highlighted seniors desire for social contact and cautious return to the community once mandates are lifted. Both seniors and organizations were accepting towards a new normal.


Capstone project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy