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Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

ISSN Imprimer: 0896-2960
ISSN En ligne: 2162-6553

Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevPhysRehabilMed.v20.i2.40
pages 159-176

Social Participation in the Elderly: What Does the Literature Tell Us?

Noemi Dahan-Oliel
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Y5, Canada; Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal, Montreal, Quebec H7V1R2, Canada
Isabelle Gelinas
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Y5, Canada; Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal, Montreal, Quebec H7V1R2, Canada
Barbara Mazer
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Y5, Canada; Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal, Montreal, Quebec H7V1R2, Canada

RÉSUMÉ

Objectives: To review the literature on social participation in the elderly, including the benefits and factors associated with it and the measures used to evaluate it. Methods: A review of the literature was conducted using Ovid Medline (1996-2008), CINAHL (1982-2008) and PsycINFO (1985-2008) searches. The following keywords were used as appropriate: social participation, participation, leisure activities, leisure time, or leisure, combined with aging, aged, aged 80 and over, or elderly. Results: Studies on social participation in the elderly have focused on the benefits of social participation and on the associated factors. Social participation has been found to be related to better functional skills, well-being, health-related quality of life, and survival. Both personal (e.g., age) and environmental (e.g., transportation) factors were found to have either a positive or negative impact. There exist several instruments to measure social participation; however, none were developed specifically for the elderly. Discussion: Social participation is an important outcome that should be integrated in the care of the elderly. Factors known to facilitate social participation in the elderly, such as health and transportation, should be promoted through education, support groups, and programs for the elderly living in the community.