A life-course perspective on adaptive strategies in later life

Holland, Caroline (1996). A life-course perspective on adaptive strategies in later life. In: 49th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America, 17-21 Nov 1996, Washington, DC, USA.


Extensive research has been carried out in Europe and North America into the relationship between older people and the environment. Much of this research has concentrated on life in institutional settings, and on the phenomena of later life without reference to individual histories.
This paper reports findings from original research with 25 older women aged between 64 and 86 who live with varying degrees of success in their own homes. The research involved open-ended life history interviews, the construction of housing histories, a (verbal) application of the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale, and three short vignettes. The participants included both women who had remained in or close to their birth home throughout life, and women who had moved location post-retirement: some of them many times.
The paper looks specifically at the strategies which these women are using to maintain independent living in the community, and how these strategies relate to their previous environmental experiences and management of change. The paper considers adaptations to physical, psychological and social aspects of the environment.

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