Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Nicole Harris


Aging; Independent Living; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Rural Health


Background: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the adult population will double the population of Americans aged 65 years or older during the next 25 years to 72 million (2013). The increasing age of baby boomers will have a significant impact on healthcare resources and available housing options. This will have a drastic effect on rural dwelling elderly individuals and their access to the healthcare and other resources. Many aging individuals want to remain in their homes, communities, and social circles. Remaining in one's home is more cost effective, compared to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities (Baernholdt, Yan, Hinton, Rose, & Mattos, 2012). An ideal model that allows elderly individuals to age in place is the village model. The village model is an innovative consumer-driven approach that aims to promote aging in place through a combination of member supports, service referrals, and consumer engagement, and access to healthcare resources and professionals (Scharlach, Graham, & Lehning, 2011). Village members continue to live in their own home and follow a membership model, where the model is financed by member dues rather than fee for service. There is significantly limited research in regard to the implementation of a village model program within rural communities and associated data. This can be attributed to the overall “newness” of aging in place, and the village model along with the unfamiliarity with these concepts (Scharlach, Graham, & Lehning, 2011).

Purpose: The purpose of this scholarly project was to develop an educational program plan on the village model that can be used by occupational therapists, and other health professionals. In other words, this program will educate health care professionals on the benefits, costs, and services associated with the village model, and will offer steps for future implementation in rural areas. The educational materials that will be utilized for this program include a lesson plan, PowerPoint presentation on aging in place, the “2030 problem,” and the village model, a brochure further defining the village model, and a post-survey to be completed after the session. The village model will require extensive education to healthcare professionals, in order for this program to be implemented into rural areas.

Methods: The developers of this program reviewed the literature to determine; (1) the growing age of the United States (US) population; (2) the importance of familiarizing individuals with the benefits of aging in place; (3) the increasing demands the aging population will have on health care resources; and (4) the definition and services associated with the village model. After a thorough review of the literature, the researchers established a need, and created the products to address this need.

Conclusions: The results of the literature review led to the development of Promotion of the Village Model in Rural Areas: An Educational Guide. This program serves as a resource to provide education to healthcare professionals on the “2030 problem,” aging in place, and the village model. The structure and objectives of the session addresses the “2030 problem,” while offering a potential solution, in the form the of the village model.