"Making a house a home: the lived experience of older adults residing in sheltered housing in Ireland"
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Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
Introduction: The home is a locus point in older adults’ lives and having a sense of home is essential to older adults’ identity, occupational engagement, social interaction and wellbeing. As Ireland’s population continues to grey, there is an increasing number of older adults moving to sheltered housing. Therefore, it is essential that sheltered housing supports older adults in creating a sense of home and belonging following the transition to sheltered housing. Method: This qualitative phenomenological study explored Irish older adults’ lived experience of creating a sense of home following the transition to sheltered housing. Data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with seven residents, aged 66-88, living in sheltered housing. Purposive sampling was used to recruit people with diverse characteristics in terms of dwelling, age, gender and sheltered housing complex location. Findings: Three themes that captured the lived experience of older adults creating a sense of home following the transition to sheltered housing were; a) personal values, b) environmental aspects and c) occupational engagement. These findings confirmed that developing a sense of home following the transition to sheltered housing is influenced by numerous factors. Discussion: In adherence with the literature, factors which impacted the development of the participants’ sense of home included, having autonomy and choice, and engaging in meaningful occupations. Novel factors included the influence of a sense of permanency and generativity, and reciprocal relationships on the sense of home. Conclusion: This study provides an insight into the essential elements which older adults require to create a sense of home when moving to sheltered housing. In order to promote the wellbeing of older adults living in sheltered housing, it is essential that occupational therapists and sheltered housing organisations understand the factors which contribute to the development of a sense of home.
Older adults , Sense of home , Sheltered housing
Dolan, G. and Foley, R. (2019) "Making a house a home: the lived experience of older adults residing in sheltered housing in Ireland". Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.
©2019, Gráinne Dolan and Rachel Foley.