Alternative Title

Ecological community-based approach to healthy aging

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Aging-Physiological aspects, Aging-Social aspects, Aging-Psychological aspects, Older people-Social networks, Older people-Health and hygiene, Exercise for older people, Aging, Ecological theory, Aging in place, Socialization, Self-rated health, Older adults, Group exercise


Based on the biopsychosocial approach of the ecological theory of aging, the present study examined the health status and social engagement of participants in an osteoporosis-prevention exercise class for adults over the age of 65 in two counties in Western Massachusetts. A self-rated health survey was developed and administered in each of the Healthy Bones & Balance classes with 226 responses in total.

Participants in this study had higher self-rated health scores than have been found in a national epidemiological study. In particular, participants who live alone were engaging in more social activities – at senior centers and places of worship – than those participants who did not live alone and had face-to-face daily interactions with others.

This study adds depth and nuance to our understanding of the multidimensional human experience of aging, rather than focusing on the surface-level perception of older adults as either sick or healthy.




iii,64 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 49-55)

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