Date of Award

2016

Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Ann Mayo, RN, DNSc, FAAN, Chairperson; Patricia Roth, EdD, RN; Jane Georges, PhD, RN

Keywords

Assisted Living, Continuing Care Retirement Community, Older Women, Transitions

Abstract

Purpose/Aims: The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of older single women who moved from their independent homes to the assisted living setting, both situated within a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

Rationale: Anecdotally, CCRC transitions have been viewed as either one dreaded possible step toward the end of life or a supportive place to open a new chapter in older adults’ lives. However, no studies have actually examined this experience among older single women, who comprise a large proportion of people making this transition.

Background: Older adults move to assisted living within a CCRC when the independent home becomes too much for them to manage or their physical or psychological needs require support. The transition is common but challenging for older women, many of whom are recently widowed and facing increasing frailty. They must plan and execute the move with the help of the facility and family members, if available.

Methods: This study employed a hermeneutical phenomenological research approach to explore the lived experience of 17 older women who moved from their independent homes to assisted living within two CCRCs. Themes developed from individual participant interviews were analyzed using Van Manen’s research approach to data analysis.

Findings: Three major themes surfaced from the interviews: preplanning, executing, and adjusting to the transition. Older women had foreknowledge of the on-campus assisted living and had their names on the waiting list. Even with facility familiarity and family and staff assistance, the move was challenging, and adjustment was difficult when participants had physical or sensory impairments.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access

Department

Nursing

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