“We are good neighbours, but we are not carers!”: Lived experiences of conflicting (in)dependence needs in retirement villages across the United Kingdom and Australia

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Abstract

Background and Objectives
This study sought to qualitatively explore the lived experiences of 80 older people living in retirement villages across the UK and Australia. We focused on residents’ narratives around the themes of independence/dependence.

Research Design and Methods
Qualitative semi-structured interviews permitted in-depth exploration of how older people understood and experienced issues related to independence/dependence in the context of retirement living.

Results
Core themes identified strikingly different and often competing needs and narratives around independence/dependence. Of note was the fact that narratives and needs around independence/dependence frequently collided and conflicted, creating a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in the retirement community. The primary source of such conflict was reflected by the fact that residents seeking a ‘prolonged midlife’ often felt that frailer and more dependent residents were a burden on them and were not suited to an ‘independent living community.’

Discussion and Implications
Our findings are discussed in relation to the challenges such competing narratives create for retirement villages as living environments for a group of people that are far from homogenous.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974–983
JournalThe Gerontologist
Volume62
Issue number7
Early online date3 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Qualitative
  • Aging
  • Retirement living
  • Othering
  • Ageism

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