University of Minnesota Program in Occupational Therapy

Aging on the Farm Partner Project

University of Minnesota Program in Occupational Therapy (OT)


Tamara Vos-Draper, PhD, OTR/L, ATP/SMS
Assistant Professor in Occupational Therapy
University of Minnesota

Maria Serbus, OT/L
Owner, founder at Grounded Evolution occupational therapy wellness services


Individuals living in agricultural communities have sparse access to aging-in-place resources to help them adapt to adverse changes in physical or neurological health. Adverse changes may occur in the following functions: vision, hearing, sensation, balance, memory, strength, endurance, or activity tolerance. Participation and engagement in one’s desired life roles are most often negatively impacted by these adverse age-related changes.


The specific aims of the project are to:

  • Develop and provide a unique OT telehealth clinical practice that addresses the aging-in-place needs of individuals in agricultural communities and their families.
  • Create and deliver a series of webinars about strategies for successful aging-in-place, designed by OT faculty and students, that can be accessed on-demand.

The project provides a number of innovative approaches which are mutually beneficial to the agricultural community and the project team. Examples include:

  • Collaboration between OT faculty, OT students, and a community-based rehabilitation provider which brings experience and fresh perspectives for addressing the needs in the community.
  • OT students will learn about the unique needs and challenges facing individuals in agricultural communities, the resources available and understand the barriers to the rural community accessing traditional health care services.
  • This knowledge will translate to well-informed future practitioners for OTs serving in rural areas.
  • Telehealth and webinar-based delivery is planned to reach more individuals.


“Maintain Productivity and Wellness While Aging on the Farm” is a two-part series presented by University of Minnesota Occupational Therapy doctoral students who are from farming communities. They understand and address the unique challenges farmers can face when physical, sensory, or cognitive changes occur.

Select the parts below to watch the videos and download the accompanying worksheets.


Occupational Therapy: Your Productivity and Wellness Advisor

Part 1 introduces Occupational Therapy (OT) as a valuable resource to farmers. The video focuses on the relationship between a farmer’s identity, sense of wellbeing, and ability to stay productive when facing challenges.


Practical Solutions to Maintain Productivity and Wellness

Part 2 shares a wide range of practical strategies and tools for maintaining productivity and safety on the farm as physical, sensory, or cognitive changes occur. The solutions address vision and hearing changes, common aches and pains associated with arthritis, and changes in thinking and memory.

Virtual Telehealth OT Program

The University of Minnesota Occupational Therapy (OT) program is offering a unique opportunity for individuals to participate in a faculty-supervised, student-run telehealth occupational therapy program.

The program is available for individuals of all ages and is designed to assist with developing strategies for managing daily life and work activities.  Participants will receive a copy or explanation of assessment results, a summary of interventions and written recommendations at the end of the program.  The program is a series of web-based telehealth sessions consisting of at least one individual meeting with a faculty member and a small group of students. Sessions are offered every Fall and Spring semester.