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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported by the year 2050, about 26% of the population would be 60 years of age or older (CDC, 2020). As Baby Boomers (individuals born between 1946-1964) enter the Third Age, defined by lifestyle choice, consumption, and preservation of youthfulness, more and more individuals are given the opportunity to age in place and participate in new/refined lifestyles (Hostetler, 2011). Although, research has proven older adults, who are now in their later years in life, are prone to experience social isolation, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and social stressors (Valtorta et al., 2018). Older adults are typically in the life stages of retirement, experiencing multiple deaths of family members or friends, and/or a decline in health and well-being. Dattilo et al., (2015) stated it is important to consider the needs of older adults who lack social interactions at home and in the community, as it affects their overall quality of life. There is limited understanding of what specific leisure and social participation programs can be transitioned from the senior center to the home and community setting.

The purpose of this capstone project was to evaluate the needs of well-elderly adults’ leisure and social participation in order to improve successful aging and advocate for OTs role at a senior center. A needs assessment was conducted to understand the complexity of Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center (LMPSC) members’ leisure and social participation needs as it affects successful aging. Seventy-three LMPSC members completed the Life Satisfaction Index of the Third Age-Short Form (LSTA-SF) screening tool and 16 senior center members completed the semi-structured interview. The LMPSC members scored 41.01 out of 72 points on the LSTA-SF.

Four major themes were discovered through the semi-structured interviews and observations. Themes included: 1) Impact from COVID-19 Restrictions, 2) Needs for Technology Training, 3) Needs of Organization Skills, and 4) Needs for Aging in Place. This project displayed how an occupational therapist (OT) has the potential to play a significant role in supporting senior center members’ leisure and social participation.

Three key takeaways became evident from the needs assessment results: 1) the need to adapt activities from the senior center to the home and community setting to encourage leisure and social participation, 2) the need to teach older adults how to use technology to enhance engagement during online Zoom classes, presentations, and events, and 3) the need to evaluate services regularly to improve issues/problems in real-time.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Medical Subject Headings

Social Participation, Leisure Activities, Social Isolation, Independent Living, Quality of Life, Occupational Therapy, Needs Assessment, Aged


Geriatrics | Mental and Social Health | Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Spring 2021 Virtual OTD Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on April 15, 2021.

Understanding Successful Aging for Well-Elderly Adults through Leisure and Social Participation