Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Carla Wilhite


Agriculture; Health Promotion; Health Services for the Aged; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Rural Health; Rural Population; Aged


The purpose of this project is to develop a guide to health promotion, wellness and adapting to life changes on the farm from an occupational therapy perspective to enhance quality of life for aging farmers and rural community dwellers. The authors completed a focused literature review on topics related to health promotion, wellness, adapting to life changes, making changes and aging in place. Data was collected through an extensive study of relevant information through professional journals, clinical text books, class discussion and related state and national associations. Upon completion of the review of literature, it was determined that older adults would benefit from resources guiding their continued participation within their own contexts resulting in an increase in quality of life.

The guide to health promotion and wellness is designed within the foundation of the Ecology of Human Performance (EHP) model and the Seven Dimensions of Wellness model for aging individuals on the farm. EHP provided a framework for interventions of adapting/modify, altering/ preventing (further problems) within the environment by looking at the person, task, context, and person-context-task interaction. The Seven Dimensions of Wellness (Witmer and Sweeney, 1992) encompasses a greater depth of the experience of the individual in all dimensions of his or her life. These dimensions include: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical dimension. The Seven Dimensions of Wellness is being used within the product as a way to incorporate the holistic view of our consumers and provided a deeper understanding of the aging adult. The resulting guide is a self-assessment tool to be used by farmers to promote longevity while living on the farm. It addresses issues related to aging in place, how to survey the farm, and the importance of accessibility and participation within a chosen context. The guide is designed to be disseminated directly to working farmers, or provided by other healthcare and non-healthcare professionals working with farmers.

This guide is tool for aging individuals, family/caregivers, and related professions working within the rural community. The goals of the guide are two-fold: (1) To increase the quality of life in aging farmers by empowering them to make the appropriate changes necessary to successfully age in place, and (2) to be used by all disciplines/professions in a variety of contexts working with aging farmers.