Older adults’ adaptations to life events: A mobility perspective

Thomas A Lowe*, Billie de Haas, Tess Osborne, Louise Meijering

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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Mobility research tends to focus on physical movement and experiences in later life; however, changes in older adult mobility over time remains underexplored. Furthermore, older adults typically experience many life events, some of which result from cognitive and physical decline, and many of which impact mobility. This article aims to explore how life events affect the mobility of older adults over time. We conducted in-depth interviews with 22 older adults aged 55 years and over from Lancashire, United Kingdom. Of these participants, eight lived with memory problems. The findings show that both anticipated and unexpected life events play a profound role in the participants' mobility over time. Retirement, long-term illness and age-related illness were examples of anticipated life events, while the death of a loved one and developing memory problems were examples of unexpected life events. In both cases, participants' made external adaptations, such as moving home, or internal adaptations, such as self-awareness. The findings also emphasise the layered nature of life events and adaptations playing a role in the participants' mobility. Additionally, life events such as developing memory problems showed a domino effect, triggering further life events and adaptations which impacted the participants' mobility. This article emphasises how transition periods can occur before or after a life event, showing that adaptations can be pre-emptive to a life event. Our article contributes to calls for internal adaptations to be fully incorporated into age-related policy and also for age-related policy to be more inclusive for older adults who experience memory problems and dementia.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's19
TijdschriftAgeing and Society
DOI's
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 16-nov.-2022

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