Université de Sherbrooke, Canada
Pier-Luc Turcotte has completed his occupational therapy undergraduate studies at Université de Sherbrooke and is now pursuing a master’s degree in community health sciences at the Research Centre on Aging of the University Institute of Geriatrics of Sherbrooke. He received scholarships from the Fonds de la recherche du Québec – Santé (grant no. 31662) and the Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation. His research is focused on fostering community practices that promote the wellness of older adults through improving their social participation.
Participation in fitness and social activities are key determinants of successful aging and enables older adults to stay in their homes and be integrated into the community. Although meeting participation needs involves older adults, their caregivers and health care providers, little is known about their respective viewpoints. This study thus explored the perceived, met and unmet participation needs of older adults having disabilities as seen by the older adults themselves, their caregivers and healthcare providers. A qualitative multiple case study consisted of conducting 33 semi-structured interviews in eleven triads, each composed of an older adult, his/her caregiver and a healthcare provider recruited in community health settings in Canada. Interview transcripts and reviews of clinical records were analyzed using content analysis and descriptive statistics based on thematic saliency analysis methods. Participation needs reported by each triad included all domains of participation. Needs related to daily activities, such as personal care, nutrition, and housing, were generally met. Regarding social activities, few needs were met by various resources in the community and were generally limited to personal responsibilities, including making decisions and managing budgets, and some community life activities, such as going shopping. Unmet needs were mainly related to social activities, involving leisure, other community life activities and interpersonal relationships, and some daily activities, including fitness and mobility. This study highlights the complexity of older adults’ participation needs, where fitness and social activities were mostly unmet although important. Properly assessing and addressing these needs is thus necessary to improve older adults’ health and well-being.