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The Meaning of Aging in Place to Older People

The Meaning of Aging in Place to Older People Purpose:This study illuminates the concept of aging in place in terms of functional, symbolic, and emotional attachments and meanings of homes, neighbourhoods, and communities. It investigates how older people understand the meaning of aging in place, a term widely used in aging policy and research but underexplored with older people themselves.Design and Methods:Older people (n 121), ranging in age from 56 to 92 years, participated in focus groups and interviews in 2 case study communities of similar size in Aotearoa New Zealand, both with high ratings on deprivation indices. The question, What is the ideal place to grow older? was explored, including reflections on aging in place. Thematic and narrative analyses on the meaning of aging in place are presented in this paper.Results:Older people want choices about where and how they age in place. Aging in place was seen as an advantage in terms of a sense of attachment or connection and feelings of security and familiarity in relation to both homes and communities. Aging in place related to a sense of identity both through independence and autonomy and through caring relationships and roles in the places people live.Implications:Aging in place operates in multiple interacting ways, which need to be taken into account in both policy and research. The meanings of aging in place for older people have pragmatic implications beyond internal feel good aspects and operate interactively far beyond the home or housing. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Gerontologist Oxford University Press

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References (37)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Subject
AGING IN PLACE
ISSN
0016-9013
eISSN
1758-5341
DOI
10.1093/geront/gnr098
pmid
21983126
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose:This study illuminates the concept of aging in place in terms of functional, symbolic, and emotional attachments and meanings of homes, neighbourhoods, and communities. It investigates how older people understand the meaning of aging in place, a term widely used in aging policy and research but underexplored with older people themselves.Design and Methods:Older people (n 121), ranging in age from 56 to 92 years, participated in focus groups and interviews in 2 case study communities of similar size in Aotearoa New Zealand, both with high ratings on deprivation indices. The question, What is the ideal place to grow older? was explored, including reflections on aging in place. Thematic and narrative analyses on the meaning of aging in place are presented in this paper.Results:Older people want choices about where and how they age in place. Aging in place was seen as an advantage in terms of a sense of attachment or connection and feelings of security and familiarity in relation to both homes and communities. Aging in place related to a sense of identity both through independence and autonomy and through caring relationships and roles in the places people live.Implications:Aging in place operates in multiple interacting ways, which need to be taken into account in both policy and research. The meanings of aging in place for older people have pragmatic implications beyond internal feel good aspects and operate interactively far beyond the home or housing.

Journal

The GerontologistOxford University Press

Published: Jun 7, 2012

Keywords: Aging in place Housing Home and community-based care and services environment Identity Autonomy Neighborhood Meaning Choice

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