Michele Board: Meaning of home in later life

The aim of the research is to explore the meaning of home for those aged over 65 years. In so doing health care practitioners and others involved in supporting, or providing services to this age group might be able to design and deliver services that meet the individual client’s needs in retaining a sense of ‘at home’, regardless of the specific environment. Describing home is complex and encompasses the relationships one has with others, your ability to be autonomous, an expression of self also a place for privacy and hopefully refuge. The government is currently aiming to enable people to remain at home rather than in hospital during periods of illness. It is unclear whether this is the preferred option of all, and if home is a safe environment during this time. There are stereotypical views of ageing that discuss those over 65 years as a homogenous group, sharing and having the same experiences. Likewise their perceptions of home are considered to be similar. Heywood et al (2002), suggests that there are assumptions that in later life home assumes a central importance, and the main focus of an individuals life.  However with little evidence to support this the concept of home remains unexplored, specifically in the UK. Which methodology will be used is currently being explored but an interest in a more visual form of data collection and dissemination is being considered.

First supervisor – Dr Kip Jones