Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Julie Grabanski


Aged; Health Promotion; Healthy Aging; Independent Living; Rural Population


Purpose: In the United States, there are currently 46 million citizens aged 65 and older. This number is projected to more than double by the year 2060 (Mather, 2016). As the elderly population continues to grow, the need for evidence-based, client centered prevention programs for community-dwelling older adults becomes more crucial to promote independence and preserve well-being in the community. Older adults living in rural areas are at an even higher risk of losing independence secondary to decline in activity tolerance, which further elevates their need for targeted interventions (Park, Kim, & Lee, 2015). Creating a preventative program to maintain independence will help increase engagement in meaningful occupations and prolong older adults’ ability to age in place (Harrell, Lynott, Guzman, & Lampkin, 2014). Therefore, the purpose of this scholarly project was to develop a group protocol to address the need for occupation-based interventions in rural community-dwelling older adults.

Methodology: An extensive literature review on the rural community-dwelling older adult population and factors affecting the population’s wellness was conducted using the search databases PubMed and CINAHL. Government and non-profit centers for information regarding aging were also used for the literature review and the development of educational materials for older adults. To guide the creation of the product, the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) was used.

Results/Conclusions: A 12-week group protocol was created to promote independence and community engagement in older adults living in rural communities. Each session focuses on an occupation that research has shown plays a role in the wellness of older adults. This group protocol is intended to be implemented by occupational therapists working in rural communities as a community-based wellness promotion group intervention. Information is included for the facilitator regarding MOHO concepts and facilitation techniques.