Community-based older adults' perceptions of factors that influence successful aging in place

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor's Name

Pamela Shaffner

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Pamela Elfenbein

Third Advisor's Name

Susan Kaplan

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to obtain an understanding of older adults' perceptions of independence and the factors that allow them to remain living independently in the community. A questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 500 community-based older adults. One hundred seventy eight questionnaires were returned (36%). Respondents were asked questions related to independence, self-health rating, functional difficulties, and social supports. Most respondents indicated Mental Health (97%), Physical Health (97%), Control of choices (97%), and Social Support Systems (93%) contributed to maintaining independence in the community. Age, education, fewer chronic health conditions, and a higher self-health rating were found to be significant predictors of actual independence. Family members were identified as the primary source of assistance with advice on major life decisions and financial matters. Findings indicate age, education, health status and the social support of family and friends all play an important role for older adults to live independently in the community. Occupational therapy could be instrumental in extending the health, highest level of independent functioning, and the number of years older adults remain living in the community.



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