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Moving to manage: A mixed methods study of later life relocation into supported housing

Kelly, Carole Nicola


Carole Nicola Kelly


This study describes relocation experiences of older people moving to supported housing in Scotland focusing on the nature of support. Using mixed methods, Phase one involved a Scottish cross-sectional survey of all people aged 65 and over moving into Coburg (Scotland) Housing Association supported accommodation during the first six months of 2008. A total of 122 respondents were included in the survey (59% response rate). People moved locally at advanced ages with moderate disability levels to achieve more manageable housing and support, suggesting ‘assistance migration’. Expectations were high, with many seeing it as a new start in life and generally positive views of moving were reported.
In Phase two, five in-depth multiple-perspective longitudinal case studies were conducted to explore the experience of relocation into supported housing. In each case an older person, primary carer and the housing manager - all women – were interviewed over six months following relocation. Analysis was undertaken using a thematic framework approach (Ritchie et al., 2003). Findings suggested older women acted with agency to adapt to their new lives; recreating ‘normality’ through organising space and routines. It is argued that returning to normality formed the overarching objective of the older women as they sought to feel ‘in place’.

Responsibilities for meeting assistance needs were often implicit, contested and shifting, leading to fragile, uncertain and transitory arrangements. Drawing on recent advances in developmental psychology it is argued ‘longings’ of older people, and others, to achieve an optimal life can relate and motivate towards actions such as relocation. Yet, personal ‘longings’ can be prioritised differently and may result in disputes over goal setting and ways needs are met. Further, utopian ideals must be reconciled with the reality of daily life. Policy and practitioners could adopt broader, dignity based objectives to assist older people to identify ways of aiding such reconciliation.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 15, 2013
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Supported housing; older people; relocation;
Public URL
Contract Date Oct 15, 2013
Award Date 2013-07


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