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[Resource] Meanings of Aging in the Right Place for Older Clients of a Temporary Housing Program

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Background and Objectives

The concept of aging in place is acknowledged as the preference of older adults, yet without consideration of the intersections of diversity in later life is critiqued as unattainable, unrealistic, or even undesirable. This gave rise to the exploration of what is needed to age in the right place (AIRP). Building on existing research, we examined the meaning of AIRP to older adults (aged 55+ years) who have experienced homelessness.

Research Design and Methods

We conducted photovoice interviews with 11 residents of a temporary housing program in Metro Vancouver (Canada).


Using thematic analysis, we organized meanings of AIRP according to 1) Where one lives—the physical and social environment, 2) Where one goes and what one does, and 3) How one feels in ‘the right place.’

Discussion and Implications

Participants meanings’ of AIRP are applied to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. That is, when basic needs of shelter are met, participants’ considerations of ‘the right place to age’ extend beyond affordable housing to include feeling safe and comfortable in one’s home and neighborhood and having access to meaningful engagement and activities – both in vibrant urban districts and nature-scapes – enabled by affordable transportation. Our examination of what AIRP means to this group of older adults broadens current conceptualizations. Given the increase in homelessness among older adults, it is imperative that policymakers and practitioners are cognizant of meanings of AIRP so diverse older adults can not only age in place, but can thrive in the right place.

Canham, S.L., Weldrick, R., Mahmood, A., Patille, R., & Cruz Erisman, M. (2023, epub). Meanings of aging in the right place for older clients of a temporary housing program. The Gerontologist. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnad151

  • By

    SFU Aging in the Right Place

  • Published

    Dec 13, 2023

  • Subject Area
    • Age-friendly Communities
    • Housing
  • Audience
    • Academics
  • Category
    • Research & Evidence
    • Research & Reports


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