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Transitions in Aging

Promoting Community Participation

Elements of a Comprehensive Program

Photo of woman and child looking at flowers

  • Promote healthy living
  • Provide meaningful day activities
  • Ensure autonomy

NEXT: Promote Healthy Living

Notes and References

Do you remember that, at the beginning of this presentation, we discussed four components to assist individuals with developmental disabilities to age successfully?

The four components are: (1) to live independently as long as possible, (2) to remain out of institutions, (3) to maintain autonomy in decisions, and (4) to continue to engage in meaningful activities.1 Therefore, when developing a program to promote community participation in older adults with developmental disabilities, we should include activities that promote healthy living so that people can maintain their functional abilities and avoid developing secondary conditions.2 Second, consider an individual's strength, needs, and interests, in order to engage the person in activities that are meaningful to them. Finally, the activity should provide opportunities for older adults with developmental disabilities to exercise choice. This demonstrates that their opinions are being valued and promotes self-determination.


  1. Janicki, M. P. (1994). Policies and supports for older adults with mental retardation. In M. M. Seltzer, M. W. Krauss & M. P. Janicki (Eds.), Life course perspectives on adulthood and old age. Washington, DC: American Association on Mental Retardation.
  2. LaPlante, M. P. (2014). Key goals and indicators for succesful aging of adults with early-onset disability. Disability and Health Journal, 7(1), S44-S50.