The impact of social network change and health decline: A qualitative study on experiences of older adults who are ageing in place

Willeke Vos-den Ouden*, Leonieke Van Boekel, Meriam Janssen, Roger Leenders, Katrien Luijkx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Background
Older adults prefer to age in place. Social network change and health decline challenge ageing in place, as stressors that make age-related advantages disappear. The aim of this study was to explore social network change and health decline and its impact on older adults who are ageing in place.

Method
In-depth interviews (n = 16) were conducted with older adults who were ageing in place and who were experiencing health decline and social network change. Procedures for grounded theory building were followed to analyse the interviews with respondents who were discharged from the hospital less than 4 months ago (n = 7). Narrative analysis was conducted to reach a deeper understanding of the expected complexity of experiences of this targeted sample.

Results
Results encompass a typology with four types of impact: A. Sneak preview of old age, B. Disruptive transition into old age, C. Drastically ageing, and D. Steadily ageing. Additionally, indications were found that older adults should be able to move along the four types of impact and ideally could end up in quartile D, experiencing little or no impact at all (anymore).

Conclusion
The results present an optimistic view on the possibilities of older adults to continue ageing in place despite experiencing unavoidable and uncontrollable stressors in life. Also, the results provide leads for practice, to develop an action perspective for home care nurses and gerontological social workers to determine and reduce the impact of social network change and health decline on older adults who are ageing in place. Suggestions for further research would be to unravel how to detect temporal setbacks in successful ageing in place.
Original languageEnglish
Article number480
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • social network change
  • IMPACT
  • EXPERIENCES
  • ageing in place

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of social network change and health decline: A qualitative study on experiences of older adults who are ageing in place'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this