Title

The Transactional Nature of Occupation: Negotiating Change and Meaning

Presenter Information

Kendra Heatwole Shank

Start Time

25-10-2008 3:40 PM

End Time

25-10-2008 4:10 PM

Abstract

The cultural phenomenon of aging in place has gained visibility in the United States as the cohort of oldest-old adults increases. However, there are many things we still do not know about the relationships between home, occupation, and the aging process, or about how these relationships affect the human experience of meaning. The purpose of this study was to explore how complexities of aging in place are intertwined with the meaningful occupational performance of older women, and how person-environment transactions affect an individual's ability to negotiate meaning as patterns of being and doing change with age. A multiple case study approach using in-depth interviews and observations was employed, with three female participants older than 85. The theory of transactional occupation was used to understand how complex processes of aging in place impact the participants' ability to generate meaning through their occupations. Data from interviews and observations were coded, and emerging themes were grouped across cases and collapsed into two core concepts. The first concept involved domains of meaningful occupational engagement, which included occupations of identity, place-centered activity, and relationships. The second core concept identified processes of person-place transaction that support continued negotiation of meaning in occupation. Findings suggest that these transactional processes of place integration, active situational framing, and coordination of occupational performance enabled the women to continue to negotiate meaning in the domains of occupational engagement despite change. The findings from this study increase our understanding of how meaning is maintained over time and how it is supported by transactional processes of place and person. This paper also adds to the emerging evidence validating the transactional approach as a useful way to examine the occupations of an aging population.

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Oct 25th, 3:40 PM Oct 25th, 4:10 PM

The Transactional Nature of Occupation: Negotiating Change and Meaning

The cultural phenomenon of aging in place has gained visibility in the United States as the cohort of oldest-old adults increases. However, there are many things we still do not know about the relationships between home, occupation, and the aging process, or about how these relationships affect the human experience of meaning. The purpose of this study was to explore how complexities of aging in place are intertwined with the meaningful occupational performance of older women, and how person-environment transactions affect an individual's ability to negotiate meaning as patterns of being and doing change with age. A multiple case study approach using in-depth interviews and observations was employed, with three female participants older than 85. The theory of transactional occupation was used to understand how complex processes of aging in place impact the participants' ability to generate meaning through their occupations. Data from interviews and observations were coded, and emerging themes were grouped across cases and collapsed into two core concepts. The first concept involved domains of meaningful occupational engagement, which included occupations of identity, place-centered activity, and relationships. The second core concept identified processes of person-place transaction that support continued negotiation of meaning in occupation. Findings suggest that these transactional processes of place integration, active situational framing, and coordination of occupational performance enabled the women to continue to negotiate meaning in the domains of occupational engagement despite change. The findings from this study increase our understanding of how meaning is maintained over time and how it is supported by transactional processes of place and person. This paper also adds to the emerging evidence validating the transactional approach as a useful way to examine the occupations of an aging population.