Volunteers needed for “Enabling Occupation with Older Adults” course

If you are a senior citizen or if you know someone who would be willing to participate, Dr Kate Stewart of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is looking for volunteers to participate in her course on “Enabling Occupation with Older Adults. Please see her letter below for further information. Volunteers who participated last year thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the OT students were very grateful for the volunteers’ input.

Dear Potential Volunteer,

I am a course instructor with the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. I teach a course focused on aging and the impact of age-related conditions and social factors on the ageing process. The name of the course is, “Enabling Occupation with Older Adults: Part 1 (OCT 1271H).” For occupational therapists (OTs), occupations refer to the activities that we engage in everyday including caring for ourselves, volunteering, work-like activities, or leisure time pursuits.

While students are exposed to the realities of aging through lectures, readings, and clinical placements, they both enjoy and benefit from the kind of learning derived from speaking to senior citizens themselves. Over the years, a number of senior citizens have been involved in this course contributing through presentations, or meeting individually with students to share their life stories.

This year I would like to add to my list of Seniors Resource Volunteers and invite you (or anyone you know who may be interested) to participate. Currently I am looking for senior citizens who can assist with one or both initiatives listed below:

1. Life History Interview Participants: This involves meeting with one occupational therapy student in September for no more than 2 hours. The interviews are focused on your life history; that is, the important events and activities that you have been involved with over your lifetime and how these have changed as you have grown older. Questions also focus on your thoughts and attitudes towards aging. The interviews are done at a place convenient to you. The students write up your story for your review before handing it in for grading.

2. Age-Related Conditions Seminar: This seminar involves meeting with a small group of 8 to 10 students to speak about your experience with living with one or more age-related conditions (e.g., Parkinson’s Disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, cardiac problems, lung conditions [e.g.,COPD], vision/hearing loss, prostate cancer, breast cancer, cognitive changes [e.g., Alzheimer’s Disease], diabetes). The students will ask questions about how these conditions impact your daily life, what treatments, therapies and resources have been helpful, and any tips for future occupational therapists on how to work most effectively with senior citizens. This session runs for approximately 1.5 hours. This session will take place on Monday, September 23, 2019 between 1:00 and 2:30 p.m. at either the Rehabilitation Sciences Building, 500 University Avenue, Toronto (downtown campus) or the Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex, 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga (Mississauga campus). The choice of location will be based on your personal preference. You would be provided with additional information on your role prior to this session.

If you are interested in any or both of these volunteer opportunities please reply to me at ke.stewart@mail.utoronto.ca OR by calling 416-557-2825. Please indicate which initiatives you are interested in, your age (or age range), and what, if any, age-related conditions you are currently living with (as per the list above) and feel comfortable talking openly about.

Your participation would be very much appreciated!


Kate Stewart, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.)

Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 500 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5G 1V7