Living Legends: Effectiveness of a Program to Enhance Sense of Purpose and Meaning in Life Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Am J Occup Ther. 2015 Jul-Aug;69(4):6904270010p1-11. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.014894.


Objective: We investigated the therapeutic benefits (i.e., sense of purpose and meaning in life) of the Living Legends program, which includes life review writing and an intergenerational exchange, compared with life review writing alone, for community-dwelling older adults.

Method: This study was a randomized controlled trial with a connected qualitative component. We analyzed quantitative data using independent-samples t tests and written descriptions of program experiences using Collaizi's qualitative methodology; we then used a triangulation protocol to integrate the qualitative and quantitative data.

Results: For participants in the writing workshop plus intergenerational exchange, sense of purpose and meaning in life increased significantly (p<.0001) compared with those in the writing workshop alone. Qualitative themes revealed additional program benefits.

Conclusion: Living Legends enhanced participants' sense of purpose and meaning in life, a factor known to prevent cognitive loss and disability, compared with life review writing alone.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sense of Coherence*
  • Writing*