Occupational Therapy: Living Life To Its Fullest

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Strategies to Advance Gerontology Excellence: Promoting Best Practice in Occupational Therapy Self-Paced Clinical Course

Susan Coppola, MS, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA; Sharon J. Elliott, MS, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA; and Pamela E. Toto, MS, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA

Earn 3 AOTA CEUs (37.5 NBCOT PDUs/30 contact hours)


Call 877-404-AOTA for details on 3-month payment option.

Occupational therapy with older adults is a rapidly growing practice area due to demographic trends toward an aging population and longer life expectancy for people with chronic disabling conditions. Perhaps the most comprehensive text available, the Strategies to Advance Gerontology Excellence SPCC focuses on core best practices with older adults and how to approach or prevent problems. It provides vignettes of health conditions that affect participation and gives examples of effective tools and interventions. It is an exceptional tool in support of the advanced-practice AOTA Board Certification in Gerontology (BCG) and an outstanding resource for faculty.


  • Focus on core best practice with older adults
  • Emphasis on approaches to and prevention of occupational problems rather than diagnoses and impairments
  • Vignettes of health conditions that affect participation in important occupations
  • Examples of effective tools and interventions in providing occupational therapy
  • Evidence for practice with older adults in cross-cutting and emerging areas and settings

Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how participation in meaningful occupations plays a key role in the quality of life of older adults.
  • Recognize the diversity and complexities of changes related to aging and their impact on the occupations of older adults.
  • Differentiate among the multiple dimensions of context and how they affect the occupational performance, health, and well-being of older adults.
  • Grasp the importance of systems theory and transactional approach to understanding older adults in context.
  • Learn how client-centered, occupation-based, and evidence-based occupational therapy maximizes participation in desired occupations and prevents decline in function for older adults.
  • Identify external systems that promote participation in occupations and reduce barriers to services for older adults.
  • Comprehend the role of occupational therapists in serving as advocates for older adults and their families and caregivers.
  • Be aware of future diverse roles for occupational therapists and related research that supports meaningful occupations and quality of life for older adults and communities.

Author Bios
Susan Coppola, MS, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA,is a clinical associate professor in the Division of Occupational Science at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, where she has worked since 1996. There she focuses on teaching about older adulthood. She provides clinical serivces, clinical education, and consultation in settings that have included the UNC Geriatric Evaluation Clinic, McCain prison, nursing homes, and interdisciplinary home visits to elders. From 1985 to 1996, Coppola worked at Duke Medical Center as a clinician in rehabilitation, acute care, and outpatient services and was director of occupational therapy from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1985. She chaired the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) panel to develop competencies for Board Certification in Geriatrics from 2004 to 2006, participated on the Orange County Master Aging Plan task force in 2000 and 2006, and was on the Board of Directors for Carolina Meadows Retirement Community and chair of the Board Health Committee from 2001 to 2007. Key interests include the meanings and benefits of occupation in older adulthood, interdisciplinary teamwork, and dementia.

Sharon J. Elliott, MS, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA,has more than 20 years of experience working with adults and older adults in a variety of settings. She received her BS in occupational therapy from Kean University and her MS in occupational therapy from East Carolina University. She is board certified by AOTA in gerontology and served on that body's gerontology board certification panel. Elliott works at the Therapeutic Life Center, a private practice outpatient clinic in Greenville, North Carolina, and teaches in the occupational therapy assistant program at Pitt Community College. Her areas of interest, her presentations, and her publications are in the areas of gerontology, neurorehabilitation, wellness, community-based therapy, home safety and fall prevention, Alzheimer's disease, community education programs, arthritis, and low vision.

Pamela E. Toto, MS, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA, has more than 18 years of direct-care experience providing occupational therapy, primarilyto older adults. She received her BS in occupational therapy and MS in health care supervision and management from the University of Pittsburgh, where she holds a position as an adjunct faculty member and research associate. Toto balances teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels with her role as primary administrator of the Performance Assessment of Self-Care Skills (PASS) for the University of Pittsburgh's Late Life Depression Study. Toto has an ongoing practice as a home health occupational therapist and has begun studies toward a PhD in rehabilitation science. She has clinical experience in practice settings, including skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), continuing care retirement centers, acute care hospitals, home health, and outpatient clinics. Her professional interests are diverse and include participation on her state occupational therapy licensure board and leadership roles within Rebuilding Together. Toto is a past chairperson of AOTA's Gerontology Special Interest Section, and she is chair of the AOTA's Special Interest Section Council.

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Additional Details:

SKU: 3024
ISBN: 978-1-56900-229-2
Product Type: Set
Year Published: 2008

  • AOTA Continuing Education
  • Practitioner
  • Continuing Education
  • Geriatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Occupation
  • Performance
  • Aging
  • Environmental
  • Outcomes
  • Occupational Justice
  • Evaluation
  • Practice Framework
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Medicare
  • Assessment
  • Cognition
  • Continuing Education