Do it now: a project promoting participation in engaging occupations during retirement
The Do It Now Project was based on evidence that participating in engaging occupations has significant health, function and quality of life benefits for seniors. Distinct from general social activities, engaging occupations refer to those things that people routinely do, which have purpose and meaning for them, to which they are deeply committed and which often involve other people. The aim of the project was to educate pre retirees and retirees about the relationship between health and continued participation in engaging occupations during retirement. Do It Now was conducted in Shoalhaven by an occupational therapist. The sessions were structured as focus groups to enable participants to share information and experiences. Fifty three pre retirees aged 55- 64 years and 118 retirees aged over 65 years participated in the project. All participants completed a questionnaire specifically designed to collect demographic data as well as information about their level of participation in engaging occupations and their perceived barriers to continued participation in engaging occupations. This article describes the Do It Now project and discusses some of the design features that maximised attendance and facilitated the participants’ enjoyment of the project. Some examples of the questionnaire data are presented as they will inform relevant agencies responsible for developing policies and programs for retirees. Given the increasing number of baby boomers preparing to make the transition to retirement, Do It Now could be replicated in other communities, and play an important role in promoting health and quality of life outcomes for seniors.