'Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin' / 'There's no place like home' A mixed methods exploratory study of ageing in place
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Background Ageing in place refers to the practice of older adults continuing to live in their own homes. Existing research has highlighted both the importance and complexity of ageing in place for older people, however limited attention has been paid to the associated processes. This study explored these processes among a sample of older people living in Ireland. Methodology This study used a two-phase mixed methods exploratory design. In phase one a cross sectional survey design was used to explore older adults' (N=159) beliefs regarding control over their home environment. Sequential multiple regression analysis was used to identify how housing related control beliefs could be predicted by selected demographic, housing and health related characteristics. Phase two of the research used a case study design. Nine cases were purposively selected from participants who were involved in phase one of the study. Data in the form of in-depth interviews, diary entries and photo elicitation text were collected over a period of 12 months. These data were analysed using the principles of constructive grounded theory. The findings of phase one and phase two were integrated using a three-step inference process. Results Housing related control beliefs do not appear to influence the nature of practices of ageing in place. A substantive theory of practices of ageing in place was developed suggesting that ageing in place is an (in)visible process made up of maintaining (an independent) self and (re) constructing space to (re) create home. Conclusions Practices of ageing in place are embedded in everyday life and are often rendered invisible. Research and intervention to support ageing in place must recognise the on-going character of older people's lives and should attempt to build upon existing practices.