Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Susan MacDermott, OTD, OTR/L, Doctoral Coodinator

Second Advisor

Erin Schwier, EdD, OTR/L, Program Director

Medical Subject Headings

Social Participation, Aged, Senior Centers, Healthy Aging, Occupational Therapy


With the rise of an aging population, it is important to identify effective practices that fosters social participation in community-dwelling older adults. This aim of this project was to evaluate the need for adapting or enhancing current social programming in order to provide more opportunities for engagement at the San Marcos Senior Activity Center. 22 seniors and staff members, including volunteers, were interviewed on a continuous basis and responses were recorded on audiotapes. Current classes and social behavior at the senior center were also observed using field notes. All audiotapes and observation field notes were then transcribed verbatim and analyzed using open coding. Main themes that were found include: there were multiple barriers to social participation, the need for new activities to increase social participation, the need for task and environmental adaptations, the need for staff-training, and that music was a potential social avenue to increase participation. The results of this project provides promising ideas on how to evolve the San Marcos Senior Activity Center into a more fostering social environment for their seniors.


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