A Conceptual Expansion on How to Promote Social Participation: Narrowing in on the Intersections of Disability and Housing for Low-Income Older Adults

Authors: Thomas Jenkins*, Simon Fraser University, Muhammad Qureshi, Simon Fraser University, Atiya Mahmood, Simon Fraser University, Ghazaleh Akbarnejad, Simon Fraser University, Rahil Adeli, Simon Fraser University
Topics: Disabilities
Keywords: social participation, disability, older adults, community engagement, community development initiatives
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 31
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

PURPOSE: In older adulthood, social participation (SP) is shown to counteract morbidity and mortality, create and strengthen social networks, and enhance quality of life. Low-income older adults and those aging with disabilities similarly experience barriers to SP in the community setting. Community development initiatives’ (CDIs) are programs that offer the prospect to bridge the disparities in opportunities for SP for these older adults. This presentation is based on empirical findings of tenants’ perceptions of SP linked to recently piloted CDIs in an affordable rental housing development owned and managed by a not-for-profit organization in British Columbia. The following research question guided this study: What is the role of CDIs in low-income rental housing in promoting SP among older adult tenants? Findings from the study are further conceptually linked to disability literature, broadening our understanding of how unique features of CDIs can foster inclusive SP for diverse groups of older adults.

METHODS: The pilot study involved collecting data through two focus group interviews with 15 older adults, aged 65 – 87 years, living in affordable rental housing.

FINDINGS: CDIs, such as community gardens, play a critical role in both creating and increasing opportunities for SP and inclusion for a range of older adults residing in affordable rental housing, including those with disabilities. Additionally, the pilot project findings aid in providing guidance on how CDIs can be used to create inclusive communities and promote social inclusion.

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