Staying Power: Aging in Community and the Village Model
LeFurgy, Jennifer Beth
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The population of adults over age 65 in the United States is expected to reach 89 million by 2050. This population growth will increase demand for aging services at the local and federal levels. Older adults are remaining in their homes in increasing numbers and are part of a paradigm shift that is transferring healthcare services from a centralized institutional model to a decentralized home-based model. However, a majority of homes older adults reside in lack basic accessibility features and are in predominantly suburban locations that have limited transportation options. Villages, a multi-faceted aging support program, were established to address limitations encountered by older adults as they age in their homes and communities. These volunteer-based, membership organizations are becoming a popular and rapidly adopted community-based intervention, but research on Villages has been limited. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine how two groups of older adults living in a suburban Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) aged in community. One group belonged to a Village and the other did not. The theory of residential normalcy provided the theoretical framework for examining how the older adults adapted to their environments through service use and support. Data analysis from interviews revealed four themes: access to information among the Village members and nonmembers; the role of social networks; useful services when aging in community; and the importance of trusted guidance as provided by the Village director. Because Village members have access to additional and consistent support sources, may be better able maintain residential normalcy and therefore age in community longer and more safely than non-members.
- Doctoral Dissertations