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Making a move: care-home residents' experiences of relocation



Studies in environmental gerontology have progressed our understanding of the ways in which older people respond to and manage the environments in which they live, including their decisions about relocation and the influencing factors. Much of this work, however, has been done with relatively healthy and mobile older people living in domestic environments. It is often the case that when care-home residents move, the decisions are taken by others while the residents are passive and maybe hardly consulted. Far from the residents' preferences and initiatives being instrumental, they are moved by imposition. In the United Kingdom, the setting of this study, such imposed moves are common, partly because registration regulations restrict the range of care that a home can provide, and make some moves unavoidable. A questionnaire was distributed to care homes in two English local authorities to determine the incidence of relocation, and 10 homes were approached to take part in further studies, which included case-note audits, and interviews with staff and 12 older people who had relocated. The study found that the pattern of moves was complex, and that some residents were active in deciding to relocate and in the selection of the relocation home. The study concludes, however, that for residents to have an active role, they must be given support both to access the information required for decision-making and to implement their decisions.


Corresponding author

Professor Jan Reed, Centre for Care of Older People, University of Northumbria, Coach Lane Campus, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE7 7XA, UK. e-mail:
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Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
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