Occupation and older people's mental health
Research Programme for Occupation and Older People’s Mental
This research programme aims contribute to
RCOMH’s mission by:
- providing leadership in research related to occupation and
older people’s mental health;
- engaging in a programme with a global perspective, drawing on
existing links staff at York St John University have with
colleagues in Europe and internationally;
- facilitating empowerment of older people and their care-givers
in order to actively participate in this research programme;
- developing, facilitating and leading a co-ordinated programme
of research involving multi-centred, multi-disciplinary studies
that explore the relationship between occupation and older people’s
Overall Aims of the Programme
- to engage in a co-ordinated programme of collaborative
research, involving multi-centred, multi-disciplinary studies that
explore the key areas of research;
- to facilitate communication and collaboration between
researchers (academics, practitioners, students and users) who
share interest and/or expertise in the areas of occupation, older
people and mental health, in order to develop effective research
proposals and bids;
- to build research capacity at all levels in order to ensure a
sustainable programme of research.
The scope of this programme has the potential
to be very broad and was originally outlined at a A ‘Think Tank’
meeting in May 2009 following e-mail dialogues between colleagues
in the UK who are working on research in this areas and possible
areas of research and research questions were identified. These
1. Social inclusion, occupational engagement and mental
Housing related: age
segregated settings (e.g. nursing homes, residential homes, extra
care housing, warden supported accommodation)
- Do frail people placed in settings where majority of residents
are reasonably independent, become socially isolated as they do not
access meaningful occupations within the housing; and how does this
affect their mental health?
- How can we increase the social inclusion and occupational
engagement for older people living in age segregated settings?
- How do we evaluate the effects of intervention on mental
health? Who benefits? Costs and to which stakeholders?
- What are the barriers to social inclusion and occupational
engagement (time, budgets, training)?
Stigma: the impact
of stigma on occupational engagement and mental health
- What is the relationship between stigma related to dementia and
mental health problems and a person’s occupational engagement and
- If stigma is reduced, does this lead to increased occupational
engagement and increased mental health?
- What is the relationship between a person’s experience of
stigma and their well-being?
- How do people with dementia seek meaning to meet occupational
engagement needs? - Embodiment in relation to ‘doing activities’ in
people with dementia (e.g. walking, eating)
- What are the links between occupational engagement,
communication and mental health?
Capacity and deprivation of
- How do we ensure people’s best interests are addressed to meet
their occupational engagement and mental health needs when there
are issues of deprivation of liberty and mental capacity?
Occupational engagement of people
with dementia in community settings
- In relation to research around the Activity Matters programme
and the work of Graff (Netherlands; also a similar study being
undertaken in Germany)
2. Mental health problems secondary to physical disability and
/ or sensory impairment
- What is the relationship between physical disability,
occupational engagement and mental health in older people?
3. Older people and Spirituality
- What are the effects of interventions (e.g. buddy system) to
support re-engagement in a faith community upon the mental health
of older people?
- How do we assess and meet the spiritual needs of older people
with mental health problems?
- To evaluate the links between engagement in meaningful
occupation and spirituality.
- Would a training programme for health professionals in
spirituality enable the needs to be met?
- How do we support meaningful occupation in end of life care?
What is the impact of meeting spiritual needs on mental health and
end of life care?
4. Evaluation and Assessment of Occupational
- How do we robustly assess and measure levels
of occupational engagement in older people for the purposes of
- The development of a dynamic assessment
process to identify zones of proximal development in people with
- How do we intervene within the zone of
proximal development to maximise the occupational engagement and
mental well-being of people with dementia?
- The use of technology and telecare and their
potential to enable occupational performance and improve mental
health in older people.
For further information and / or become
involved in the work of this research programme please contact
Alison Laver-Fawcett E:firstname.lastname@example.org