Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Eyal Gringart

Abstract

The transition from one's place of residence to an aged-care facility may be a daunting prospect, with many factors relevant to the degree of ease in which this change occurs. Whilst this is a significant life event, qualified information about older adults' experience of it is limited, with little found about Australia. Much of what is available focuses on the caregivers' and relatives' viewpoints or their interactions with staff and do not pertain to the transition period itself, but to aged care in general. The main findings from the available literature suggest that the way a new resident perceives their situation can affect their subsequent adjustment, satisfaction and longevity, and that this can also be influenced greatly by the actions of those who make up their social network. As there can be enormous variability among the people using aged-care facilities there appears to be a need for individualised care. All of this implies that the most satisfying outcomes could best be informed through the users themselves, the older people. This review shows that there is a clear need for researching the area in Australia to benefit our ageing population, and to facilitate smoother transitions. The transition from one's place of residence to an aged-care facility may be a daunting prospect, with many factors relevant to the degree of ease in which this change occurs. Whilst this is a significant life event, qualified information about older adults' experience of it is limited, with little found about those in Australia. The current qualitative study endeavoured to uncover the issues most salient for older adults during this transition using in-depth, semi-structured interviews with residents at Lakeside Aged Care Lodge in Western Australia. Participants' memories, lived experiences and emotional responses were explored, and insight was gained into the individual methods of coping during that transition. Two research questions were posed. First, what is the subjective lived experience of the transition to an aged care facility? Second, what are the coping mechanisms that are utilised in negotiating this significant life event? The interviews of eleven participants between the ages of 78 and 94 years were analysed using a question ordered matrix that revealed three major themes, referred to as 'pre-move,' 'making the move' and 'settling in.' The main findings have illustrated that social support and adjustment to and acceptance of change is paramount in a smooth transition. Evident in the current study was a general lack of qualified information about aged-care facilities prior to entry, suggesting the a need for further research in this area in Australia to benefit our ageing population in facilitation of smoother transitions The findings make a unique contribution to the body of knowledge and have potential to inform practice, as well as policy formation.

Included in

Gerontology Commons

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