Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Nicole Harris

Second Advisor

Janet Jedlicka


Aged; Health Promotion; Quality of Life; Rural Health Services; Women's Health


Problem: There is a need for rural services for community-dwelling women due to a lack of resources, transportation, and social opportunities (Bacsu et a!., 2016; Averill, 201 2). Likewise, Shimada et a!. (2014) emphasized the impact and causes of social isolation on elderly individuals and how important it is for elderly individuals to establish a support system when facing challenges throughout later life. A third problem was described by Choi et a!. (2013) in that elderly individuals may experience a loss of independence and functional decline can result from being physically inactive. This indicates that there are increased health risks and may be functional limitations for elderly individuals who participate in physical exercise; however, finding a balance of maintaining independence and improving well-being is important for older individuals (Choi et a!., 2013) Lastly, measuring quality of life may suggest information for creating evidence-based interventions to improve health outcomes (Scogin et a!., 2016).

Methodology: IRB approval was obtained through the University of North Dakota prior to beginning this study. Participants were recruited by hanging flyers within the Casper, Wyoming community. Eight participants started the program, but two dropped out, so there was a total of six participants overall in our study. Written informed consent was obtained during the first session of the study. The participants consisted of well women over the age of 60 living in the Casper, Wyoming community. The seven-week program took place at a local Lutheran church in Casper, Wyoming. A group protocol was used to guide the wellness program (Peinovich, Triller, & Stube, 2015). A mixed methods study was completed in order to determine effectiveness in increasing quality of life in elderly community-dwelling women who live in a rural area. The World Health Organization Quality of Life Brief form was used as an outcomes measure to determine if there was an increase in quality of life among participants. Qualitative data was obtained through session summaries and a feedback survey that was completed at the end of the program.

Results/Conclusions: It was found that this program had an impact on the participants within our study, but the sample size wasn't large enough to show statistical significance in measuring quality of life. There was significance found in Physical Health, Environmental Factors, and Overall Health domains. There was a correlation between Physical Health and Psychological domains at pre- and post- assessment, and a correlation between Environmental Factors and Overall Health at pre- assessment, but not at post-assessment. The qualitative data suggests that the women enjoyed the group and were able to make social connections and identify techniques to remain independent within their homes. Although the results of the WHO-QOL BREF were not statistically significant, qualitatively the participants described the importance of overall health, living independently within the community, forming social bonds, having intergenerational discussions, and controlling factors that contribute to overall quality of life.