Supporting older people's choices to live safely and independently in the community (age-in-place) can maximize their quality of life and minimize unnecessary hospitalizations and residential care placement. Little is known of the views of older people about the aging-in-place process, and how they approach and prioritize the support they require to live in the community accommodation of their choice.
To explore and synthesize the experiences and perspectives of older people planning for and experiencing aging-in-place.
Two purposively sampled groups of community-dwelling people aged 65+ years were recruited for individual interviews or focus groups. The interviews were semistructured, audio-recorded, and transcribed. Themes were identified by three researchers working independently, then in consort, using a qualitative thematic analysis approach.
Forty-two participants provided a range of insights about, and strategies for, aging-in-place. Thematic saturation was reached before the final interviews. We identified personal characteristics (resilience, adaptability, and independence) and key elements of successful aging-in-place, summarized in the acronym HIPFACTS: health, information, practical assistance, finance, activity (physical and mental), company (family, friends, neighbors, pets), transport, and safety.
This paper presents rich, and rarely heard, older people's views about how they and their peers perceive, characterize, and address changes in their capacity to live independently and safely in the community. Participants identified relatively simple, low-cost, and effective supports to enable them to adapt to change, while retaining independence and resilience. The findings highlighted how successful aging-in-place requires integrated, responsive, and accessible primary health and community services.