AbstractPurpose of the study:
This article presents data from 2 qualitative studies, confirming what gerontologists observed 30 years ago. Multilevel senior housing residents experience stigma and distress in an environment where people are grouped by levels of functioning.Design and Methods:
Qualitative, interview-based (N = 367) studies were conducted in senior housing settings offering multiple levels of care (N = 7). Analyses involved revisiting coded narrative data, ethnographers’ field-based knowledge, and identification of pattern saturation.Results:
Residents and places reflecting the highest levels of care are stigmatized in a context where people are monitored for health changes and required to relocate. Consequently, residents self-isolate, develop a diminished sense of self, and hide health and cognitive conditions out of fear of relocation.Implications:
Developers, operators, staff, and potential residents need to recognize the personal and social challenges typically experienced even in within-site relocation. It is important to rethink the predominant model of senior housing that requires residents with changing needs to move and adapt to the setting.