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This capstone project explored the role of occupational therapy practitioners in the care of pets and animals among older adults which has been referred to as the forgotten instrumental activity of daily living (or IADL) for this population. A needs assessment was conducted to determine how to provide facilitators and remove barriers or hindrances to occupational performance in the care of pets and animals among a group of older adults (with a variety of disability- and non-disability-related needs) in independent living communities. This needs assessment identified compounding health disparities of physical and/or cognitive impairments and lack of financial and necessary resources in the care of pets and animals among older adults. Occupation-based strategies were implemented to ameliorate aging in place with pets and animals in the form of a resource guide and an in-service and were shared with necessary stakeholders.

Publication Date

Summer 8-2-2023


University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


occupational therapy, gerontology, instrumental activities of daily living, care of pets and animals, health management, social and emotional health promotion and maintenance

Medical Subject Headings

Human-animal bond, Human-animal interaction, Aging, Healthy aging, pets, Independent living, Depression, Loneliness


Gerontology | Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Summer 2023 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on August 2-9, 2030

The Role of Occupational Therapy Practitioners in the Care of Pets and Animals: A Guide to Aging in Place with Pets and Animals