Date of Award

Fall 12-9-2023

Document Type

MOT Group Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy


Rehabilitation Sciences

Research Coordinator

Christine Raber, PHD, OTR/L

Program Director

Barbara Warnock, DHSc, OTR/L


Purpose: Social connection among older adults is important for occupational therapists to understand in order to better address the needs of the increasing older adult population. Loneliness and activity engagement are related to social participation of older adults; and investigation of the relationships between choice of living environment and social connection experiences of older adults is needed.

Method: The social connection experiences of older women aging in place was investigated using exploratory case study methodology. Three participants were selected through maximum network variation sampling. To be included in the study, participants had to be female, age 75 or older, demonstrate the capacity to consent, and live alone in one of three living environments. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, recorded audio data was transcribed, and transcriptions were thematically analyzed to categorize patterns within the data.

Results: The results suggest four main themes related to social experience of older women: physical abilities, relationships, activities, and life contentedness.

Discussion/Conclusions: The findings of this study identified themes that reflect the importance of understanding social connection experiences of older adult women to create implications for occupational therapy practice and support for this population. Social connections of older women can be influenced by physical abilities, personal relationships, participation in activities, and levels of contentedness. Promoting social connections of older adult women aging in place may include success in areas of occupation such as: health maintenance, social participation, leisure, and instrumental activities of daily living.


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