Moving residence in later life: actively shaping place and wellbeing

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Manik Gopinath
Vikki Entwistle
Tim Kelly
Barbara Illsley


Policy discourse favours the idea of “ageing in place” but many older people move home and into different kinds of residential settings. This article extends the understanding of how relocation can promote as well as diminish older people’s well-being. Using relational understandings of place and capabilities (people’s freedoms and opportunities to be and to do what they value) we explored well-being across the relocation trajectories of 21 people aged 65–91 years living in diverse residential settings in Scotland. We found that a diverse array of capabilities mattered for well-being and that relocation was often motivated by concerns to secure “at-risk” capabilities for valued activities and relationships. Moving residence impacted several other capabilities, in addition to these, both, positively and negatively. We suggest that a capability approach offers a valuable lens for understanding and supporting well-being through behavioural models of late-life relocation.


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