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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16822

Title: The Public Life of Older People: Neighbourhoods and Networks
Authors: Gardner, Paula
Advisor: Gastaldo, Denise
Department: Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Keywords: healthy aging
geographical gerontology
aging in place
social networks
Issue Date: 6-Feb-2009
Abstract: Preserving and improving the health and well-being of older people is a significant public health issue of the 21st century. The increased attention to the promotion of health in old age has given rise to an extensive body of literature on the subject of “healthy aging” – a discourse dedicated to understanding the multidimensional factors associated with aging and health and the application of this knowledge. Adopting a place-based, qualitative approach, this dissertation addresses key gaps in the healthy aging literature. The public life of older people aging in place was examined to understand how neighbourhoods, as important physical and social places of aging, contribute to the well-being and healthy aging of older people. This dissertation employed a critical geographical gerontology research framework and a methodology called ‘friendly visiting’ which combines ethnography, narrative and case study research and utilizes participant observation, visual methods and interview techniques. The qualitative data were analyzed using grounded theory and an adapted coding strategy that integrated the textual, visual, and auditory data. The analysis process highlighted theoretically-informed themes that characterized participant’s perceptions and experiences of their neighbourhoods. Findings reveal neighbourhoods are important places of aging that impact the well-being of older people aging in place. This dissertation provides insight into the micro-territorial functioning of neighbourhoods for older people. Embedded within these environments are key sites for informal public life called third places (e.g., parks, streets and coffee shops). Third places are important material and social places for older populations. Preparing for, journeying to, and engaging in these public sites promotes healthy aging by providing opportunities for engagement in life and facilitating social networks. Results advance healthy aging and aging and place research, contribute to gerontological and geographical methodologies, and have implications for policy and practice in areas such as health promotion and age-friendly community initiatives.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16822
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Dalla Lana School of Public Health - Doctoral theses

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