Interviewing Elderly Residents in Assisted Living

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The interpretation of interview data requires an understanding of its context. In this study, the context was Assisted Living (AL). Twenty-one interviews were conducted with elderly residents of 4 Midwestern Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs). Institutional fear and loneliness associated with ALF living framed residents' interpretation of and responses to the interview questions. Residents feared transfer to a nursing home, and they experienced the loneliness of being cut off from their homes and put into the care of busy staff members. Their framing of and responses to questions (both qualitative and quantitative) reflected this context, and included the invocation of impairments, the reluctance to criticize staff, and the refusal to complain about the ALF or their present situation.

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