Understanding older adults’ social capital in place: Obstacles to and opportunities for social contacts in the neighbourhood

Debbie Lager, Bettina van Hoven, Paulus Huigen

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

36 Citaten (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Social capital has been a popular concept used in research and policy to stress the value of social contacts for the health and well-being of older adults. However, not much is known about the obstacles to and the opportunities for local social contacts in older adults’ everyday lives. In this paper we provide a geographical account of older adults’ social capital, by taking the main context of their daily life, the neighbourhood, into consideration. We draw on semi-structured and walking interviews with 17 older adults living in an urban neighbourhood in the Northern Netherlands in order to illustrate the meanings of, the obstacles to and the opportunities for local social contacts. Our findings show that the neighbourhood is not an isotropic surface where opportunities for developing social capital are evenly distributed. The potential benefits of older adults’ local social contacts differ depending on the place of social interaction within the neighbourhood and expectations associated with these interactions. Furthermore, different time geographies of older and younger residents as well as ageist stereotypes of older adults’ body capital influence the development of social capital in the neighbourhood.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)87-97
Nummer van het tijdschrift0
StatusPublished - 2015

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