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Introduction

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"To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear."

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—Buddha

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LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this chapter, readers will be able to:

  1. Define concepts associated with health and wellness for older adults.

  2. Describe specific factors that have been associated with health and wellness in older adults.

  3. Summarize the characteristics of evidence-based programs that support health and wellness for older adults.

  4. Discuss roles and emerging opportunities for physical and occupational therapy practitioners on interprofessional and interdisciplinary teams in health and wellness programs.

  5. Discuss environmental influences on health and wellness, including cultural, political, and global characteristics.

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Clinical Vignette

Gloria O'Leary is a 75-year-old manicurist who lives in an older suburb of a major city. She states that she is fortunate to have few physical health problems that affect her work performance. Occasionally she has eye strain because of the nature of her work, but she recently purchased a magnifying light that makes it easier to see details. Gloria currently works 20 to 30 hours a week but reports her time in the salon always goes fast because she greatly enjoys spending time with her "regulars"; they are an important part of her social network. Gloria works so she can supplement her social security income and do the necessary maintenance on her older two-story home. She lives in a single-family dwelling with her 93-year-old father who recently has had some health and memory problems. At times, she worries about him, especially when he is home alone. Gloria and her nearby siblings make an annual trip to visit with their extended family who live about 300 miles away. This yearly celebration is important because it keeps her connected with friends from her hometown and the family members who don't live near to her.

  1. Would you describe Gloria as having health and wellness given the information provided? Why or why not?

  2. What personal and environmental factors are supports and barriers for Gloria's occupational performance and participation?

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What does it mean to have health and wellness as an older adult? Perhaps you have an older adult in your life who serves as your role model of what it means to age gracefully and retain a sense of well-being. What is it about this person that you admire? How has this person stayed engaged in life? How would you describe her or his everyday activities? What are some of the contributing factors that enabled this person to maintain health and wellness in the later years of life? Has this person had any ailments or signs of aging that posed challenges? How was she or he able to retain a sense of health and wellness despite these challenges? What advice has this person shared on strategies for living a long and happy life?

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Globally, there is increasing ...

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