Moving residence to secure capabilities: insights from a qualitative study of experiences of place and wellbeing among older people living in Scotland

Manik Deepak Gopinath, Vikki A. Entwistle, Barbara Illsley, Timothy Kelly

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Housing, health and social care policy in the UK, including Scotland, has emphasised the value of ageing in place in a long term domestic home. However, some older people do not and perhaps cannot continue to live in their long term domestic home and alternatives might have some advantages for their wellbeing. We were interested in exploring how changes in place of residence are shaped by and shape the capabilities that older people value. This paper focusses on older peoples’ reasons for and experiences of moving residence from domestic to other domestic or formally supported settings. We conceptualised moving residence as a complex, and dynamic process and used relationally theorised notions of ‘capabilities’ and ‘place’ to explore it. In-depth interviews incorporating a biographical perspective were carried out with 26 participants aged between 65 to 96 years living in a range of domestic, sheltered and residential care settings across more and less affluent areas of Dundee. Our thematic analysis suggests that a change in place of residence can be a way to secure and stabilize some capabilities. But moving residence to secure some capabilities can have mixed implications for other capabilities. Findings also highlight that peoples’ opportunities for moving residence might be more or less restricted and for a variety of reasons. Our findings confirm some advantages of exploring experiences of moving residence using relational notions of capabilities and place and that can be useful in making informed interventions about how to support older people. References 1. Golant, S. M. 2003. Conceptualizing time and behaviour in environmental gerontology: a pair of old issues deserving new thought. The Gerontologist, 43, 5, 638-648. 2. Hillcoat-Nalletamby, S. and Ogg, J. 2014. Moving beyond ‘ageing in place’: older people’s dislikes about their home and neighbourhood environments as a motive for wishing to move. Ageing and Society, 34, 10, 1771-1796. 3. Massey, D. 1994. Space, Place, and Gender. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 4. Peace, S., Holland, C. & Kellaher, L. 2011. ‘Option recognition’ in later life: variations in ageing in place. Ageing and Society, 31, 5, 734-757. 5. Sen, A. K. (2009) The Idea of Justice. London: Penguin.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventBritish Society of Gerontology: The Art of Ageing - Swansea, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


ConferenceBritish Society of Gerontology
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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