During winter term, Angela Lavery gave a gerontology presentation about older adults aging in place, which means people can live independently and safely in their own homes and communities, despite their income, age, and level of ability. Some of Lavery’s experience included hospice work, family assistance for those who had lost a loved one, and substance abuse assessment for the Department of Corrections.
In her presentation, Lavery’s discussed her research, which involved interviewing older adults who were on wait lists for low income housing. Forty-five individuals participated in the study; most of the subjects were low-income, 4 were homeless, and 5 were veterans. Participants said that they felt uneasy, since they were still waiting for housing. Many of them also reported that they simply wanted to live in a peaceful place, where they could feel settled.
Lavery encouraged the participants to take pictures of any items that were meaningful to them as they aged in place. She noted that nature was very important to many of the individuals, since they took pictures of indoor plants and bedroom windows. Living in a community with younger generations was also very important to one of the participants, who lived near a high school as she waited to be placed in a new home. The woman reported that she loved listening to the high school marching band and was concerned that once she moved, her community would not be as lively.
For the adults in the study, aging in place meant far more than housing; it meant privacy, independence, and freedom. Many of these individuals simply desired to live comfortably, where they could grow older gracefully.