skip navigation

Transitions in Aging

Community Participation

Benefits of Community Participation

Group of seated elders doing stretching in unison

  • Physical well-being
  • Intellectual well-being
  • Social well-being
  • Spiritual well-being
  • Emotional well-being
  • Occupational well-being

NEXT: Barriers to Community Participation

Notes and References

Let us start by explaining that our communities are our neighborhoods, our place of worship, our jobs and many other places where we feel a sense of connection to the people around us.

Let's review how community participation can contribute to our physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, and occupational wellbeing.1 Being an active participant in the community can improve our physical health because we have more opportunities to be physically active outside of our homes. Think about it, when we go out to run errands or meet up with friends, it often involves movement. Regardless of the intensity of the movement, it gets us off the couch! Community participation can give us opportunities to connect with other people and help us build friendships.2 Some of us may choose to remain at our job or to volunteer for community programs, which can help us stay connected to our communities and makes us feel productive.2,3,4 Some of us enjoy participating in religious activities, such as attending church, synagogue, or worship groups. Being a member of a spiritual community can expose us to people who have the same beliefs as us, which can make us feel happy and included. Overall, participating in enjoyable activities can help improve our moods,3 reduce loneliness5 and help us live longer, healthier lives.6 Now we have learned that community participation can provide us with a lot of benefits. Let's talk about some barriers that may prevent us from doing activities in the community so we can plan to work through these barriers together.


  1. Hettler, B. (1976). National Wellness Institute: The Six Dimensions of Wellness Model. Retrieved from
  2. Fesko, S. L., Hall, A. C., Quinlan, J., & Jockell, C., (2012). Active aging for individuals with intellectual disability: Meaningful community participation through employment, retirement, service, and volunteerism. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 117(6), 497-508.
  3. Judge, J., Walley, R., Anderson, B., & Young, R. (2010). Activity, aging, and retirement: The views of a group of Scottish people with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 7(4), 295-301.
  4. Crawford, C. (2004). Coming of age: Securing positive futures for seniors with intellectual disabilities. Retrieved from
  5. Stancliffe, R. J., Bigby, C., Balandin, S., Wilson, N. J., & Craig, D. (2015). Transition to retirement and participation in mainstream community groups using active mentoring: A feasibility and outcomes evaluation with a matched comparison group. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59(8), 703-718.
  6. LaPlante, M. P. (2014). Key goals and indicators for successful aging of adults with early-onset disability. Disability and Health Journal, 7(1), S44-S50.