Social engagement: helping others and contributing to society


In this unit the exercises focus on social engagement. Social engagement is included in the concept of social participation but otherwise conceptualised. Contrarily to the type of exercises explained in unit 7, where the aim was to install or reconnect with friends and family, social engagement is about being meaningfully engaged in society. This necessarily involves a desire for social change. For instance, by volunteering and being involved in some social organizations, AAWID may contribute to making the community a better place to live, and as such have a direct or indirect impact on others’ well-being. This unit focuses on interventions that create meaningful and socially engaging activities for people during their transition to retirement.

Helping others and contributing to the community also has a positive impact on the quality of life of AAWID themselves as they (re-)gain a social status and personal identity. In the face of postretirement diminished social contacts and an already-tenuous connection with the greater community, social engagement activities can be particularly constructive to the mental health and self-esteem of individuals with IDD.

However, most AAWID may not want to or cannot seek out the dominant routes to social engagement yet still wish to be ‘attached’ and to ‘belong’. It should be the aim of the supporting network to create spaces within which people can attain the feeling and status of belonging, without being exposed to the rigours associated with ‘normal’ social inclusionary positions.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge Skills

Knowledge about ‘new roles’: --Knowing that after retirement people can take on new roles in the society. 

  1. Being able to select and perform those roles that lead to a  good quality of life (personal development, well-being).

Finding out how one wants to contribute to community life (or not).

  1. Selecting those contributing activities (for example: taking care of someone’s dog, work in the garden of the neighbour, …) that make a person feel successful in society or that leads to a more inclusive life if desired.  Make a talent poster and an activity poster.

Know the community resources and benefits that are available, specifically for ageing people (traveling for elderly, ocra, advantages for the train…)

  1. Selecting those community resources that might be important for him/her with the objective to engage more in community life.
  2. Choose (financial-social) benefits that might contribute to a more inclusive life. 

Other units

Unit 7
Social participation

Social connectness: keeping in touch with family and friends

Unit 8
Social participation

Active ageing: Postretirement working – or leisure activities in the community

Unit 10
Social participation

Social Media