The Benefits of Continuous Leisure Participation in Relocation Adjustment Among Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities

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Abstract

Background:

The rising population of older adults is transforming Taiwan society. Although many long-term care facilities now operate for older adults, the transition from the home environment to long-term facilities may cause multiple issues, including relocation stress syndrome, for new residents. Autonomy is a critical element of the human experience. Leisure, as an expression of autonomy, has been shown to enhance self-image and promote feelings of competence and mastery.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between participation in leisure activities and adjustment to residential care using the continuity theory.

Methods:

One hundred sixty-three qualified individuals from 11 long-term care institutions were recruited and completed the questionnaire. The sampling criteria for the study were age (55+ years), appropriate cognitive skills, and residency (less than 5 years). Interviews conducted by trained interviewers were used to collect data. Measured outcomes included leisure participation; physical, psychological, and social adjustments; and background information. Cluster analysis, descriptive analysis, multivariate analysis of variance, and least significant difference test were used in analysis.

Results:

Type of admission (voluntary/mandated) and type of leisure participation significantly affected the level of relocation adjustment success. Four leisure behavior categories were identified, including reduced participation, expanded participation, active participation, and continuing participation. The participants in the active and continuing participation categories had significantly higher psychological adjustment than their peers in the reduced participation category. Moreover, the continuing participation category had a significantly better level of social adjustment than their expanded participation category peers. Continuous and active participation categories had a beneficial outcome in relocation adjustment.

Conclusions:

The findings support that, in general, residents of long-term care facilities who participate continuously in leisure activities adjust better psychologically and socially to their new life in these facilities than individuals in the other participation categories. As continuity of participation in leisure activities is important for successful aging, institutions should facilitate the continuing leisure behavior of new residents.

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