Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Older people -- Case studies, Older people -- Oregon -- Portland



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, v, 68 leaves)


Six general hypotheses guided the development of the study: The older person experiences progressive disengagement from society resulting in feelings of isolation, depression, frustration, and despair; the aging person is dissatisfied with the degree of this process of social disengagement; the aging person gains satisfaction by participating in activities which lead to individual growth and/or benefit to others; the aging person lacks capacity and/or desire to participate in many activities or to continue the full-time roles of parent, job holder, and citizen; the aging person would like to choose his activities according to his desires and needs; and the aging person will more likely participate in activities if he is able to obtain adequate health care and has financial security. Descriptive and statistical inferential tests were used to analyze the data. A relatively small percentage of possible disengagement in the recreational, occupational, and family life areas occurred during the individual's life span from age 40 to age 70. The percentage of possible disengagement in these areas increased dramatically in the life span from age 70. Most of the respondents rejected loneliness and depression and felt in good spirits most of the time. A tendency toward less and less contact with others was seen. Statistically significant differences were found between activities which were presently enjoyed which were basically individual and passive in nature; and activities respondents would plan for themselves, which were of a significantly more social nature involving them in rewarding activity with others. Statistically significant differences were found between interest in the activity program available at Northwest Tower, basically recreation and entertainment; and the activities respondents would include in their program, mainly designed for self-enhancement or benefit to others. Statistically significant differences were also found between the number of activities available and the smaller number desired. The findings suggested that the preponderance of the respondents desired to withdraw from major responsibilities outside their household. Of those who desired responsibilities such as occupation, family or civic, they were prevented from assuming them most of the time because of their increasing age, deteriorating health, and lack of money. These were also the main factors operant in restricting their activity and preventing them from enjoying satisfactory ways of living. The majority of opinions as to society's responsibility to the aging suggested that intervention was necessary to provide financial security, health care, and better and cheaper methods of transportation. The findings of the study suggested the importance of more intensive research in planning programs directly related to meeting the individual needs of elderly people.


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Portland State University. School of Social Work

Persistent Identifier