Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 19
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Botterill, Kate 2016. Discordant Lifestyle Mobilities in East Asia: Privilege and Precarity of British Retirement in Thailand. Population, Space and Place, p. n/a.

    Dockery, Alfred Michael 2016. A Wellbeing Approach to Mobility and its Application to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Social Indicators Research, Vol. 125, Issue. 1, p. 243.

    Orr, Noreen Wagstaffe, Alexandra Briscoe, Simon and Garside, Ruth 2016. How do older people describe their sensory experiences of the natural world? A systematic review of the qualitative evidence. BMC Geriatrics, Vol. 16, Issue. 1,

    Curl, Angela Ward Thompson, Catharine and Aspinall, Peter 2015. The effectiveness of ‘shared space’ residential street interventions on self-reported activity levels and quality of life for older people. Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 139, p. 117.

    Lager, Debbie Van Hoven, Bettina and Huigen, Paulus P.P. 2015. Understanding older adults’ social capital in place: Obstacles to and opportunities for social contacts in the neighbourhood. Geoforum, Vol. 59, p. 87.

    Peine, Alexander Faulkner, Alex Jæger, Birgit and Moors, Ellen 2015. Science, technology and the ‘grand challenge’ of ageing—Understanding the socio-material constitution of later life. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Vol. 93, p. 1.

    Siren, Anu Hjorthol, Randi and Levin, Lena 2015. Different types of out-of-home activities and well-being amongst urban residing old persons with mobility impediments. Journal of Transport & Health, Vol. 2, Issue. 1, p. 14.

    Stjernborg, Vanessa Wretstrand, Anders and Tesfahuney, Mekonnen 2015. Everyday Life Mobilities of Older Persons – A Case Study of Ageing in a Suburban Landscape in Sweden. Mobilities, Vol. 10, Issue. 3, p. 383.

    Ellington, Linda 2014. Handbook of Research on Adult and Community Health Education.

    GREEN, JUDITH JONES, ALASDAIR and ROBERTS, HELEN 2014. More than A to B: the role of free bus travel for the mobility and wellbeing of older citizens in London. Ageing and Society, Vol. 34, Issue. 03, p. 472.

    Nordbakke, Susanne and Schwanen, Tim 2014. Well-being and Mobility: A Theoretical Framework and Literature Review Focusing on Older People. Mobilities, Vol. 9, Issue. 1, p. 104.

    Stjernborg, Vanessa Emilsson, Ulla Melin and Ståhl, Agneta 2014. Changes in outdoor mobility when becoming alone in the household in old age. Journal of Transport & Health, Vol. 1, Issue. 1, p. 9.

    Szanton, Sarah L. Roth, Jill Nkimbeng, Manka Savage, Jessica and Klimmek, Rachel 2014. Improving Unsafe Environments to Support Aging Independence with Limited Resources. Nursing Clinics of North America, Vol. 49, Issue. 2, p. 133.

    Ward Thompson, Catharine Curl, Angela Aspinall, Peter Alves, Susana and Zuin, Affonso 2014. Do changes to the local street environment alter behaviour and quality of life of older adults? The ‘DIY Streets’ intervention. British Journal of Sports Medicine, Vol. 48, Issue. 13, p. 1059.

    Gatrell, Anthony C. 2013. Therapeutic mobilities: walking and ‘steps’ to wellbeing and health. Health & Place, Vol. 22, p. 98.

    Phillips, Judith Walford, Nigel Hockey, Ann Foreman, Nigel and Lewis, Michael 2013. Older people and outdoor environments: Pedestrian anxieties and barriers in the use of familiar and unfamiliar spaces. Geoforum, Vol. 47, p. 113.

    Vine, Desley Buys, Laurie and Aird, Rosemary 2012. The use of amenities in high density neighbourhoods by older urban Australian residents. Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 107, Issue. 2, p. 159.

    Vine, Desley Buys, Laurie and Aird, Rosemary 2012. Experiences of Neighbourhood Walkability Among Older Australians Living in High Density Inner-City Areas. Planning Theory & Practice, Vol. 13, Issue. 3, p. 421.

    Ziegler, Friederike 2012. “You have to engage with life, or life will go away”: An intersectional life course analysis of older women’s social participation in a disadvantaged urban area. Geoforum, Vol. 43, Issue. 6, p. 1296.


Wellbeing, independence and mobility: an introduction

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 16 May 2011

This paper introduces the theme of the special issue on wellbeing, independence and mobility. We begin with outlining the complexity of each of these notions and then turn towards their interdependence. It is argued that the links between wellbeing, independence and mobility are manifold and contextual in older people's everyday lives: they differ between places, between individuals and across phases in each individual's unique lifecourse. The inherent complexity of those links can be examined fruitfully and understood better if a geographical or environmental analytical perspective is adopted. We also suggest that the interdependence of wellbeing, independence and mobility in later life needs to be understood in the context of neo-liberal governmentality and the creation of particular ways of being and acting for older people. The piece concludes with a brief description of the papers brought together in the special issue.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Tim Schwanen, Transport Studies Unit, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

G. Adler and G. Rottunda 2006. Older adults' perspectives on driving cessation. Journal of Aging Studies, 20, 3, 227–35.

P. S. Baker , E. V. Bodner and R. M. Allman 2003. Measuring life-space mobility in community-dwelling older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 51, 11, 1610–4.

M. M. Ball , M. M. Perkins , F. J. Whittington , C. Hollingsworth , S. V. King and B. L. Combs 2004. Independence in assisted living. Journal of Aging Studies 18, 4, 467–83.

D. Banister 2008. The sustainable transport paradigm. Transport Policy, 15, 2, 7380.

A. Bowling 2009. The psychometric properties of the older people's quality of life questionnaire, compared with the CASP-19 and the WHOQOL-OLD. Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, 2009, Article ID 298950.

A. Bowling and Z. Gabriel 2007. Lay theories of quality of life in older age. Ageing & Society, 27, 6, 827–48.

L. Bryant , K. K. Corbett and J. S. Kutner 2001. In their own words: a model of healthy aging. Social Science & Medicine, 53, 7, 927–41.

S. Carlisle , G. Henderson and P. W. Hanlon 2009. ‘Wellbeing’: a collateral casualty of modernity? Social Science & Medicine, 69, 10, 1556–60.

B. J. Collopy 1988. Autonomy in long term care: some crucial distinctions. The Gerontologist, 28, supplement, 10–7.

N. Crossley 1996. Body-subject/body-power: agency, inscription and control in Foucault and Merleau-Ponty. Body & Society, 2, 2, 99–116.

J. A. Davey 2007. Older people and transport: coping without a car. Ageing & Society, 27, 1, 4965.

M. Dean 2010. Power at the heart of the present: exception, risk and sovereignty. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 13, 4, 459–75.

M. Featherstone and M. Hepworth 2005. Images of ageing: cultural representations of later life. In M. L. Johnson (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Age and Ageing. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 354–62.

S. Fleuret and S. Atkinson 2007. Wellbeing, health and geography: a critical review and research agenda. New Zealand Geographer, 63, 2, 106–18.

C. Gilleard 2005. Cultural approaches to the ageing body. In M. L. Johnson (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Age and Ageing. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 156–64.

R. Gilroy 2007. Taking a capabilities approach to evaluating supportive environments for older people. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 1, 3/4, 343–56.

P. Higgs , M. Hyde , R. Wiggins and D. Blane 2003. Researching quality of life in early old age: the importance of the sociological dimension. Social Policy & Administration, 37, 3, 239–52.

P. Hopkins and R. Pain 2007. Geographies of age: thinking relationally. Area, 39, 3, 287–94.

H. J. Kaiser 2009. Mobility in old age: beyond the transportation perspective. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 28, 4, 411–29.

S. Katz 2000. Busy bodies: activity, aging, and the management of everyday life. Journal of Aging Studies, 14, 2, 135–52.

D. Laliberte Rudman 2006. Shaping the active, autonomous and responsible modern retiree: an analysis of discursive technologies and their links with neo-liberal political rationality. Ageing & Society, 26, 2, 181201.

W. Larner 2000. Neo-liberalism: policy, ideology, governmentality. Studies in Political Economy, 63, 5–25.

M. P. Lawton 1983. Environment and other determinants of well-being in older people. The Gerontologist, 23, 4, 349–57.

M. P. Lawton and L. Nahemow 1973. Ecology and the aging process. In C. Eisdorfer and M. P. Lawton (eds), The Psychology of Adult Development and Aging. American Psychological Association, Washington DC, 619–74.

J. Leece , S. Peace 2010. Developing new understandings of independence and autonomy in the personalized relationship. British Journal of Social Work, 40, 6, 1847–65.

R. Mack , A. Salmoni , G. Viverais-Dressler , E. Porter and R. Garg 1997. Perceived risks to independent living: the views of older, community-dwelling adults. The Gerontologist, 37, 6, 729–36.

H. Mollenkopf , F. Marcellini , I. Ruoppila , Z. Széman , M. Tacken and H.-W. Wahl 2004. Social and behavioural science perspectives on out-of-home mobility in later life: findings from the European project MOBILATE. European Journal of Ageing, 1, 1, 4553.

I. Moser 2006. Disability and the promises of technology: technology, subjectivity and embodiment within an order of the normal. Information, Communication & Society, 9, 3, 373–95.

J. Oxley , J. Langford and J. Charlton 2010. The safe mobility of older drivers: a challenge for urban road designers. Journal of Transport Geography, 18, 5, 642–8.

D. Plath 2008. Independence in old age: the route to social exclusion? British Journal of Social Work, 38, 7, 1353–69.

S. M. Reindal 1999. Independence, dependence, interdependence: some reflections on the subject and personal autonomy. Disability & Society, 14, 3, 353–67.

R. M. Ryan and E. L. Deci 2001. On happiness and human potentials: a review of research on hedonic and eudemonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1, 141–66.

C. D. Ryff 1995. Psychological well-being in adult life. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 4, 4, 99–104.

T. Schwanen and A. Páez 2010. The mobility of older people – an introduction. Journal of Transport Geography, 18, 5, 591–5.

J. Secker , R. Hill , L. Villeneau and S. Parkman 2003. Promoting independence: but promoting what and how? Ageing & Society, 23, 3, 375–91.

A. Siren and L. Hakamies-Blomqvist 2004. Private car as the grand equaliser? Demographic factors and mobility in Finnish men and women aged 65+. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 7, 2, 107–18.

A. Siren and L. Hakamies-Blomqvist 2009. Mobility and wellbeing in old age. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 25, 1, 3–11.

A. Sixsmith and J. Sixsmith 2008. Ageing in place in the United Kingdom. Ageing International, 32, 3, 219–35.

E. Sointu 2005. The rise of an ideal: tracing changing discourses of wellbeing. The Sociological Review, 53, 2, 255–74.

M. Winance 2007. Trying out the wheelchair: the mutual shaping of people and devices through adjustment. Science, Technology and Human Values, 31, 1, 5272.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *