Date of Graduation
Level of Access
Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access
Bachelor of Science
Department or Program
As housing options for the elderly continue to expand, understanding how residential settings affect older people’s lives is important. Although the literature suggests that two notions, belonging and agency, are fundamental to experiences of the environment in later life, limited research has examined the nuances of these constructs in senior living communities. This multiple-case study explored how residents, staff, and physical spaces contributed to conceptualizations of community (i.e., belonging) and independence (i.e., agency) in two independent living facilities. Participant-observation, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups were used to understand how residents and staff perceived and negotiated these forces in their everyday lives. Data analysis revealed that four interrelated themes were shared across both sites. Overall, the themes indicated that notions of independence were consistently embedded within physical, social, and individual experiences of community. Implications for researchers, practitioners, and the elderly in independent living, both locally and nationally, are discussed.
Components of Thesis
1 PDF file
Meyer, Laurel E., "Conceptualizing Community: Older People's Experiences in Independent Living Facilities" (2016). Honors Theses. 165.
Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.