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Transitions in Aging

Community Participation

Barriers to Community Participation

  • Physical health
  • Attitude
  • Lack of support
  • Lack of knowledge

NEXT: Adapting to Overcome Barriers

Notes and References

Some common barriers that can prevent us from participating in the community are our physical health, attitude, lack of support, and lack of knowledge about opportunities.

Poor physical health often prevents us from feeling like going out of our homes and participating in social activities.1 Along with this, if we experience changes in our mobility, physical accessibility can be a barrier to community participation. For example, if we began to use a mobility device in our older age, some community buildings and environments may be difficult for us to access with wheelchairs or walkers. Therefore, we need to be mindful in planning our trips.

Some common reasons on why we do not participate in community activities as we get older are because: First, we do not like changes in our daily routine. Second, we fear that we might waste time doing something we do not enjoy.2 Other times, we do not participate in community activities as frequently as we could, simply because we do not have sufficient support or we are unaware of the available opportunities in our communities.3, 4

So! We know that being social and participating in the community is important and we also understand that there are several common barriers to that participation. Now we need to ask: How exactly can we overcome these barriers?


  1. 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.
  2. Balandin, S., Llewellyn, G., Dew, A., Ballin, L., & Schneider, J. (2006). Older disabled workers' perceptions of volunteering. Disability & Society, 21(7), 677-692.
  3. Hogg, J., Lucchino, R., Wang, K., Janicki, M., & Working Group. (2000). Healthy ageing Adults with intellectual disabilities: Ageing and social policy. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. Retrieved from
  4. Crawford, C. (2004). Coming of age: Securing positive futures for seniors with intellectual disabilities. Retrieved from