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Home environments and adaptations in the context of ageing



‘Ageing in place’ initiatives form an important part of broader ‘ageing well’ strategies that are being developed in response to demographic change. Increasingly, it is acknowledged that it is important to understand how individuals shape and modify the space within their own home and immediate environment to facilitate flexible solutions in the event of a loss of independence. The research presented here aims to understand how individuals construct the space both within their own home and their immediate surroundings and how this construction is linked to their own perception of ageing and growing old. A thematic analysis of 28 qualitative interviews resulted in two differentiated responses in relation to home adaptations: those respondents who had acted to modify their home and environment and those who instead sought to delay or ‘put off’ any modifications. The results demonstrate the multi-dimensional experience of ageing, the diversity of types of home environment, and the interplay between compensatory solutions and the social contexts within which they take place. The need for a more holistic approach that takes into account factors such as an individual's experience of ageing is suggested in order to understand the use of space in home environments and the adaptations that are made to them. Policy initiatives for ‘ageing in place’ can be reinforced by closer user involvement.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Sylvie Renaut, Unité de recherche sur le vieillissement, Caisse nationale d'assurance vieillesse, 49 rue Mirabeau, Paris, 75016, France. E-mail:


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