Are the Leisure and Social Needs of Older Adults Residing in Assisted Living Facilities Being Met?

Aims: This retrospective study explored if there was a change in participation in leisure activities among older adults after transitioning into an assisted living facility. Supports and barriers to leisure and social engagement were also investigated. Methods: The Activity Card Sort (modified) was administered to explore and compare the participants’ engagement in leisure and social activities prior to and after moving into an assisted living facility. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to examine the participants’ perspectives regarding the current supports and barriers to engagement in their individual and meaningful interests. Results: Quantitative data gathered from the Activity Card Sort (modified) revealed the participants engaged in only 34.13% of the activities they participated in prior to moving into an assisted living facility; results also revealed that only 42% of the participants engaged in a new leisure activity after moving into an assisted living facility. Qualitative data revealed four themes concerning supports and barriers to participation: physical abilities, social supports, available resources, and personal influences. Conclusion: Older adults in assisted living facilities face a decline in engagement in leisure participation and may be at risk for occupational deprivation. Occupational therapists are well-suited to address these concerns.