‘Getting old is not all bingo and knitting’. An exploration of positive ageing and occupational participation through engagement with community leisure activities: a qualitative study

Julie Lowe*, Tracy Collins, Pasna Sallis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background/Aims Loneliness and social isolation have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of older adults. The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of a group of older adults involved in a range of occupational-focused leisure activities provided by the Weekday Wow Factor, a small social enterprise led by an occupational therapist to understand their perceptions of positive ageing and occupational participation. Methods This small-scale qualitative research project explored the experiences of participants attending a weekly daytime disco that took place in a city centre nightclub. Participants also engaged in a number of other activities offered by the Weekday Wow Factor and discussed these during the focus groups. A total of 26 participants took part in four focus groups, with topics for discussion being informed by the 4D cycle of appreciative enquiry: discovery, dream, design and destiny. Results Three overarching themes with sub-themes were found: mental wellbeing with sub-themes of social isolation, occupational participation and health promotion; inclusivity with sub-themes of positive ageing and community; and engagement with sub-themes of environment, occupational flow and occupational justice. Conclusions Activities that facilitated friendship, a feeling of usefulness and belonging to a community were valued by participants, along with a sense of adventure from a range of activities that are not traditionally associated with older people. These activities need to be easily accessible to the community with implications for public transport and the social prescribing agenda. Occupational justice is important to the provision of community-based resources for older people to promote healthy and active ageing, which contributes to wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2023

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