Photovoicing the neighbourhood: Understanding the situated meaning of intangible places for ageing-in-place

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Abstract

Ageing-in-place is considered important for the health of older adults. In this paper, inspired by a constructivist approach to ageing-in-place, we unravel professionals’ and older adults’ constructions of ageing-in-place. Their perspectives are studied in relation to a policy that aims to develop so-called ‘lifecycle-robust neighbourhoods’ in the southern part of the Netherlands. We conducted a photovoice study in which 18 older adults (70–85 years) living independently and 14 professionals (social workers, housing consultants, neighbourhood managers and community workers) were asked to photograph and discuss the places they consider important for ageing-in-place. Based on a theoretically informed analysis of the data, we found that professionals primarily consider objective characteristics of neighbourhoods such as access to amenities, mobility and meeting places as important enablers for older adults to remain living independently. Analysis of older adults’ photographs and stories show that they associate ageing-in-place with specific lived experiences and attachments to specific, intangible and memory-laden public places. We conclude that exploring these experiences helps to increase current knowledge about place attachment in old age.

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