Promoting Community Participation
Ensure Autonomy: Provide Opportunities to Exercise Choice
- Types of activities
- Shift focus from skill acquisition to skill maintenance
- Provide flexible hours/days of participation
- Intensity of engagement
- Observer vs. participant
- Shorter activity, longer rests
Notes and References
When considering how to promote community participation in older adults with developmental disabilities, the final component we should consider is how to ensure an individual's autonomy.
Providing opportunities for this group to exercise choices can increase motivation to participate in the activity and promote self-determination. So what can we do? At this life stage, older adults with developmental disabilities often experience changes in their physical health and may experience pain and fatigue more frequently. Therefore, we should focus on maintaining functional abilities and consider offering people different types of activities with differing levels of intensity. Allow people the opportunity to decide how often they would like to participate in the activities, and how they would like to be involved (e.g. being an observer or a participant) and respect their choice. Remember that doing nothing can be an activity! Sitting on the sidelines may be seen as being a passive participant, yet could be an active listener/observer and still be part of the group. Additionally, when conducting activities, consider providing more frequent breaks that allow people to catch a breath and stay engaged in the activity.