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The older adult: physical activity considerations and learning to age in place

Ryan M. Carrick (School of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Danielle Wadsworth (School of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 3 October 2023




The purpose of this study is to investigate the transfer of learning among older adults and the importance of physical activity (PA) related to aging in place.


A mixed-methods approach examined 10 older adults aged 65–88, who were receiving occupational therapy and contemplating aging in place. Semistructured interviews determined participants' perceptions of aging in place and PA. Accelerometers assessed levels of PA over 14 days.


Interviews revealed that most participants were aware of the importance of PA but did not specify PA as being a primary contributor to continued independence with aging. Accelerometer data revealed that, on average, 96.7% of the day is spent in sedentary behavior.

Practical implications

Health-care professionals may ask the question, “What will my patient do with the information he or she has learned?” This study was useful to increase understanding of older adults’ learning, lifestyles and effects on aging independently.

Social implications

As older adults have true expectations of requirements for successful aging in place, realistic levels of PA and transfer of learning could improve the intended outcome of aging independently.


PA is often an overlooked factor for occupational engagement and aging in place and is novel to investigate in combination with interviews.



The authors would like to acknowledge Drs. James Witte, Maria Witte and Jonathan Taylor for editing recommendations and Dr. Nicholas Derzis for content review. The authors would like to acknowledge Encompass Health (formally known as CareSouth at the time of the study) for patient access with informed consent.

Funding: No funding was received to conduct this research.

Declaration of conflicting interests: The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Since acceptance of this article, the following author has updated their affiliation: Ryan M. Carrick is now at the Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Allied Health Sciences, Augusta University, Augusta, USA.


Carrick, R.M. and Wadsworth, D. (2023), "The older adult: physical activity considerations and learning to age in place", Working with Older People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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