The aim of the research presented was to describe the historical and cultural context of Forrahue, Pucatrihue and Neltume and their influence on the living conditions of older people belonging to social organisations of older people. Qualitative, interpretative and critical study carried out in the second quarter of 2017. The study was carried out in three rural localities in southern Chile, selected according to the socio-demographic characteristics of the territories and the viability of the research. Three social organizations of people over 60 years of age participated, contacted by key informants, workers of primary care devices in the localities. Three discussion groups and in-depth interviews were conducted with a total of 18 older people, mostly women, members of social organizations. Content analysis was used for the analysis. The study shows the positive role of association and social participation in maintaining health conditions and mitigating living conditions that determine vulnerability: poverty, isolation and deterioration due to age. Evidence of the need to integrate social participation as a health strategy, from the recognition of natural forms of coexistence and unstructured from health agents. Evidence is presented on the value of the sense of territorial belonging in advanced age and of activity with shared, everyday meaning.

Keywords: Social participation, Senior Citizens, Rural living, Health conditions