Perceived personal and environmental barriers to community-based participation for older adults: Themes emerging from key informant interviews

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The ICF defined participation as a person's involvement in life situations. Participation in community-based activities such as shopping, exercise and socialising is fundamental to life satisfaction and health. Older people are at risk of community-based participation restriction due to personal and environmental factors.

Occupational therapists consider the environmental context, and so have the potential to foster an older person’s community-based participation. Effective practice requires valid and reliable assessments; however, a scoping review found no available instrument for assessing community-based participation and associated environmental factors. As the first step in developing such an instrument, this research utilised key informant interviews to generate instrument times.


The aim of this research was to understand the community-based activities that older people wanted and needed to participate in and their perceived personal and environmental enablers and barriers.


Fifteen older adults were interviewed using a semi-structured guide developed through a review of the literature. Responses were recorded, transcribed, and then analysed thematically.


Key themes emerging included:

1) Proximity to like-minded people; 2) activities available that aligned with my interests and preferences; 3) neighbourhood walkability and community transport; 4) independent at home but dependent in the community; and 6) frailty, risks and costs.


The findings from this study contributed to the generation of items as the first step in the development of an instrument to validity assess community-based participation and environmental factors in older adults. Such an assessment will enable occupational therapists to foster older person’s health and life satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
EventInternational Congress of the World-Federation-of-Occupational-Therapists 2022: Occupational R-Evolution - Paris, France
Duration: 28 Aug 202231 Aug 2022
Conference number: 18th (link to where you can search the full program for the abstracts )


ConferenceInternational Congress of the World-Federation-of-Occupational-Therapists 2022
Abbreviated titleWFOT 2022
Internet address

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