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Occupational Therapy International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1983414, 7 pages
Research Article

Activity Disengagement: Understanding Challenges and Opportunities for Reengagement

1School of Medicine, Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
2George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
3Institute for Public Health, Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Carolyn M. Baum

Received 23 September 2016; Accepted 13 December 2016; Published 12 January 2017

Academic Editor: Patricia Belchior

Copyright © 2017 Krista Fox et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although maintaining engagement in activities has a positive influence on our health and wellbeing as we age, many programs that serve older adults struggle with getting participation in the programs they offer. This study sought to explore activity disengagement among older adults in a senior housing community and identify the challenges and opportunities for reengagement with the aim of informing future intervention development and testing. Fifty-one adults over the age of 60 participated in structured interviews. Findings highlighted that many older adults have activities patterns that are not optimal for health. Many reasons given for disengaging in activities (e.g., no opportunity) were surprising given that participants lived in a setting where a variety of programs were offered. Programs need to more purposively address social challenges to participating in activities and consider a more person-centered approach when developing interventions for the older adults they serve.