Entering the Twilight Zone: Exploring the experience of older people as they transition their living accommodation
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
Older people have a greater array of choices for retirement living than any other generation before them. Deciding on where to live is a major dilemma for them. What are the factors that contribute to this making this life-changing decision? How do older people cope with the transition to new accommodation? This research considers the experience of older people who have made the shift to a retirement complex. It also contemplates their attitudes and perceptions and those of older people who may, at some point in their lives, have this decision taken from them and find they are directed into care. The focus of the research was to hear and record the ‘voice’ of a purposeful sample of older people by exploring their experience of shifting into one of four levels at retirement complexes; villa, serviced apartment, resthome or hospital. The research also delved into the attitudes towards a potential shift of those who remain in their family home. Thirty-five participants, ranging in age from 66 to 95-years were located into three groups according to their living situation. They were interviewed using an unstructured interview process and information from these interviews was catergorised into sixteen themes. The data were sifted through, in order to discover similarities and differences between participants and groups. Findings were then compared with available literature to offer further endorsement or to proffer an alternative perspective to the existing information. These findings also indicate areas where further research could be carried out to gain a more holistic oversight in order to reduce the stress for older people moving from their family home.