Title

Participating and Livability: A Multi-Method Study of Aging and Engaging in Place

Start Time

5-10-2012 10:20 AM

End Time

5-10-2012 10:50 AM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to learn about participation in daily activities for older adults aging in place, and to better understand the dynamics that make a community ‘livable’ for this population. This multi-method study takes an innovative approach to conceptualizing the person-place relationship that goes beyond the current literature, where ‘livability’ is treated as characteristic of the environment and ‘participation’ is primarily accessed through subjective account. Identifying spatial patterns of community participation and exploring the processes that lead to those patterns of engagement will contribute to a better, more integrated understanding of livability.

Methods: Twelve older adults (70+) were purposively selected for diversity of experience, socioeconomic level, and living situation. The multi-method design was guided by pragmatic emphasis – consistent with grounded theory research – on using the method(s) most appropriate to the question. Methods were chosen to address personal, situational, subjective and spatial aspects of the person-place relationship that underpins participation. Data collection included sequential interviews that probed the experience of daily activities and the social and physical nature of the community; naturalistic observation with each participant during an activity of their choosing; and GPS data collection which yielded rich spatial data about location, routine, routes, and duration. Qualitative data were analyzed consistent with grounded theory principles. Transcripts and field notes were coded, thematically developed, and used to inform ongoing data collection and theoretical sampling. The GPS data were analyzed with geospatial information software (GIS) within and across participant cases. The spatial and qualitative data were integrated during analysis: time-space patterns served to contextualize interview and observation data, and qualitative data explained and expanded insights from spatial data.

Results: Results will include representation of the older adults’ participation through quotes, thematic development, and conceptual modeling. Findings from the spatial analyses will include visual representations of activity space, distance from the home, sequence of routes driven/taken, locations/places frequented, and temporal features of spatial behavior. Common features of patterns will be noted as well as personal and community features that appear to co-vary with those patterns. These findings will be applied to the concept of livability, and used to suggest how occupational science makes novel and relevant contributions to the interdisciplinary efforts to support participation – and livability – particularly for an aging population.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does this research from an OS perspective inform/relate to the broader, interdisciplinary effort to support aging in place and create “livable communities”?
  2. What are the relative benefits and limitations of using a combination of spatial and qualitative methods to examine the person-place relationship of community-dwelling populations?
  3. How does a deeper understanding of ‘place’ inform our understanding of occupation – especially participation in occupations that have a high level of place-consistency?

References

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: SAGE.

Cutchin, M.P. (2004). Using Deweyan philosophy to rename and reframe adaptation-to-environment. AJOT, 58, 303-312.

Heatwole Shank, K., & Cutchin, M. P. (2010).Transactional occupations of older women aging in place: Negotiating change and meaning. Journal of Occupational Science, 17, 4-13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2010.9686666

Kroksmark, U., Mordell, K., Bendixen, H.J., Magnus, E., Jakobsen, K. & Alsaker, s. (2006). Time geographic method: Application to studying patterns of occupation in different contexts. JOS, 13, 11-16.

Plouffe, L., & Kalache, A. (2010). Determining Urban Features that promote health aging. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 87, 733-739

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Oct 5th, 10:20 AM Oct 5th, 10:50 AM

Participating and Livability: A Multi-Method Study of Aging and Engaging in Place

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to learn about participation in daily activities for older adults aging in place, and to better understand the dynamics that make a community ‘livable’ for this population. This multi-method study takes an innovative approach to conceptualizing the person-place relationship that goes beyond the current literature, where ‘livability’ is treated as characteristic of the environment and ‘participation’ is primarily accessed through subjective account. Identifying spatial patterns of community participation and exploring the processes that lead to those patterns of engagement will contribute to a better, more integrated understanding of livability.

Methods: Twelve older adults (70+) were purposively selected for diversity of experience, socioeconomic level, and living situation. The multi-method design was guided by pragmatic emphasis – consistent with grounded theory research – on using the method(s) most appropriate to the question. Methods were chosen to address personal, situational, subjective and spatial aspects of the person-place relationship that underpins participation. Data collection included sequential interviews that probed the experience of daily activities and the social and physical nature of the community; naturalistic observation with each participant during an activity of their choosing; and GPS data collection which yielded rich spatial data about location, routine, routes, and duration. Qualitative data were analyzed consistent with grounded theory principles. Transcripts and field notes were coded, thematically developed, and used to inform ongoing data collection and theoretical sampling. The GPS data were analyzed with geospatial information software (GIS) within and across participant cases. The spatial and qualitative data were integrated during analysis: time-space patterns served to contextualize interview and observation data, and qualitative data explained and expanded insights from spatial data.

Results: Results will include representation of the older adults’ participation through quotes, thematic development, and conceptual modeling. Findings from the spatial analyses will include visual representations of activity space, distance from the home, sequence of routes driven/taken, locations/places frequented, and temporal features of spatial behavior. Common features of patterns will be noted as well as personal and community features that appear to co-vary with those patterns. These findings will be applied to the concept of livability, and used to suggest how occupational science makes novel and relevant contributions to the interdisciplinary efforts to support participation – and livability – particularly for an aging population.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How does this research from an OS perspective inform/relate to the broader, interdisciplinary effort to support aging in place and create “livable communities”?
  2. What are the relative benefits and limitations of using a combination of spatial and qualitative methods to examine the person-place relationship of community-dwelling populations?
  3. How does a deeper understanding of ‘place’ inform our understanding of occupation – especially participation in occupations that have a high level of place-consistency?