Ageing in Place Takes Many Forms

A man and woman laying in bed smiling for the camera.

The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.

~ Niccolo Machiavelli


Ageing in place takes many forms…

Aging in Place

Some time ago from The Gerontologist published October 7, 2011, I read a research article title: The Meaning of “Ageing in Place” to Older People.The study was an attempt to illuminate the concept of “ageing in place” in terms of functional, symbolic, and emotional attachments and meanings of homes, neighborhoods, and communities (p.1). The researchers were attempting to get at the heart of how older people understand the meaning of “ageing in place.”

Study Summary (brief)

Methods:The study focus group (n= 121) respondents’ ages ranged from 56 to 92, they participated in 2 case study communities of similar size in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Thematic and narrative analysis on the meaning of ageing in place was presented in the paper.

The Question:“What is the ideal place to grow older?”


  1. Older people want choices about how they age in place.
  2. “Ageing 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 community.
  3. “Ageing in place” is related to a sense of identity both through independence and autonomy and through caring relationships and roles in the places people live.


Ageing in place operates in multiple interacting ways, which must be taken into account in both policy and research.The meanings of ageing in place for older people have pragmatic implications beyond “feel good” aspects and operate interactively far beyond the “home” or housing (p.1)

The paper’s authors go on to report:

“Ageing in place” is a popular term in current ageing policy, defined as “remaining in the community, with some level of independence, rather than in residential care(Davey, Nana, de Joux, & Arcus, 2004, p.133).

These researchers are treating “place” as inclusive of community…

Too frequently, there is a tendency to treat “place” simply as a context (clinical or living), rather than seeing it as productive of particular outcomes for older adults, as well as being shaped by them(Andrews and colleagues, 2007, p. 12).

Take Home Message from paper

By treatingplaceas a mere “container” and “older people” as ahomogeneouscategory, there can be inadequate recognition of diverse needs.


The Meaning of “Ageing in Place” to Older People(references found in the article)

*Ageing = European spelling

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