The experience of 'ageing in place' over time: a longitudinal perspective

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Social Sciences

Abstract

By 2030, two thirds of the world's population will be living in cities, with the major urban areas in the developed world likely to have 25% or more of their population aged 60 and over. Yet, the evidence suggests that older people remain among the most excluded groups living in urban communities (UN-Habitat, 2010). 'Ageing in place' policies have been widely adopted to reduce the pressures of ageing populations on health and social care services in cities. This approach is aimed at enabling older people to maintain independence whilst receiving support from the community in which they may have lived for a substantial part of their life (Smetcoren, 2015). To date, however, there is only limited knowledge about the range of benefits and limitations associated with ageing in place, with few studies exploring what 'ageing in place' means to older people themselves (Wiles, 2011). To advance our understanding of this issue, this study will use qualitative longitudinal data to explore older people's experiences of ageing in place. Four research questions will be addressed:
1. What are the origins, objectives, and characteristics of 'ageing in place' policies?
2. What do biographical accounts and longitudinal qualitative data tell us about the ways that older people age in place over time?
3. How does the experience of 'ageing in place over time' differ across contrasting urban neighbourhoods?
4. How can evidence from research support the implementation of policies and practices relating to ageing in place?

The research is divided into three strands. Strand A assesses evidence for the characteristics of 'ageing in place' policies through, first, a systematic literature review; second, a documentary analysis of Greater Manchester's devolution agenda on health and social care; and, third, the development of a conceptual model drawing together disparate bodies of knowledge.

Strand B explores the theme of time. Data for this strand come from the Step-Change project which is archived with Timescapes. It focuses on history interviews with 70 people aged 50 and over, living in four different locations in Greater Manchester. Also, longitudinal data, which include follow up interviews (40 participants in Wave 2 and 32, in Wave 3), completed over a four-year period. The analysis will be conducted at two levels. Firstly, cross-sectional analysis will reveal contrasting experiences of ageing in place at a particular moment in time for the sample as a whole. Secondly, the longitudinal analysis will allow for an understanding of how particular narratives develop over time in the context of neighbourhood change versus stability.

Whilst the focus of strand B is on the temporal aspects of ageing in place, Strand C explores place dimension, i.e. the contextual influences (community change, migration, neighbourhood characteristics) on the experience of ageing in place over time. This strand will reveal whether and how this experience varies between different urban neighbourhoods, exploring the interplay between individual change and community change in four contrasting locations in Greater Manchester: Crumpsall and Ancoats (characterised by high levels of deprivation and rapid population change) and Hale and Chorlton (affluent neighbourhoods with relatively stable populations). Two contextual influences on the experience of ageing in place over time will be explored in-depth: the neighourhood's socio-economic status and population turnover, identified as crucial for understanding older people's experiences of ageing in place (Buffel et al., 2014).

In exploring the issue of ageing in place through qualitative longitudinal research, the research will break new ground, both in the development of a conceptual framework for understanding ageing in place over time in urban settings, and in providing the knowledge necessary for addressing a priority area in social policy relating to neighbourhood-based support for older people.

Planned Impact

The programme has significance for a wide range of non-academic and academic research users. The role of a Research Advisory Board (RAB) is to assist with the design, dissemination and impact of the research. The group will provide external advice and scrutiny throughout the research programme and will be informed through regular research briefings circulated every three months, about project developments and findings. The role of the RAB is to advise on the project as a whole on theoretical advances and methodological issues. The Board will include experts coming from different disciplines who either lead or advise on issues relating to ageing and/or urbanisation. The following have agreed to be involved in the RAB: Professor Mike Savage (Sociology, LSE), Professor Chris Phillipson (Sociology/Social Gerontology, Manchester), Professor Jeanette Edwards (Anthropology, Manchester), Dr Andrew Miles (Sociology, Manchester), Dr Niamh Moore (Sociology, Edinburgh) and Dr Kahryn Hughes (Sociology, Leeds). Alongside the RAB, we propose to set up a Policy Advisory Group (PAG) comprised of expert stakeholders from the public, private and voluntary sector, who either lead or advise on issues relating to ageing policies and practices. Paul McGarry (Manchester City Council, see letter of support) and John Hannen (Programme Manager Ambition for Ageing, Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation), have agreed to be on the PAG and will help establish contacts with other stakeholders in Greater Manchester. The PAG will meet every six months, to share interim findings, and attend the final workshop.

The project will hold two 'open seminars' supported by existing networks, including the Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group (MUARG, led by Co-I Buffel) linked to the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA) which promotes interdisciplinary and innovate research to bridge the gap between academic research and policy and practice. The purpose of the seminars would be to invite non-academic audiences to discuss current research and policy issues surrounding ageing in place (see J. Garsden, MICRA, letter of support).
A website and a blog will be established early in the programme of research and will serve as a platform for publishing the subsequent information about the project's results and events. The website will be hosted by the University of Manchester and be advertised through existing networks (see J. Garsden, MICRA, letter of support) and contacts through the PAG.
Findings from the research will be disseminated through two conference papers (which may include, the British Sociological Association, European Sociological Association, British Geographical Society) and three articles in high impact factor journals, including:
1. A conceptual paper on ageing in place over time in urban environments, drawing together disparate bodies of knowledge (Ageing and Society, Sociological Review)
2. A paper reporting qualitative longitudinal research findings on older people's experiences of ageing in place over time (Journal of Aging Studies, Journal of Qualitative Research)
3. An empirical paper exploring variations in the experience of ageing in place over time across urban neighbourhoods (Sociological Review, Sociology Online)
It is expected that the research will make a significant impact in developing theoretical and empirical understandings of the dynamics of ageing in place. Key long-term impact from the project will include the publication of a policy based report on ageing in place over time. A one-day workshop, supported by MICRA and Manchester City Council, will be held at the end of the project to share findings and to discuss the implications of the research with a range of stakeholders interested in developing age-friendly communities. The project researchers will utilize their contacts through the PAG and with international organisations to maximize impact and dissemination of the research.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Progress has been made in a number of areas. First, we have begun to develop a network of stakeholders (working in policy related areas) and older people. In November 2018 we held an ESRC Festival of Social Science event where we shared ideas about our project and held discussions about the future of the city and ageing in place. Second, a film was made about the event which has been disseminated on the University of Manchester's website. Third, the project team were invited to speak at the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub's Housing, Planning and Ageing group meeting in December about ageing in place. The group expressed an interest in being involved in future dissemination events and raised a number of questions how changes to older people's personal lives will affect ageing in place, which we will explore further in our analysis. Fourth, we are currently organising an end of award event, which will be held in June 2019. At this event we will share findings of the study with private or third/voluntary sectors, and older people. This event will be held in collaboration with the Manchester Urban Ageing Research Group to maximise the reach of our impact.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description BSA Conference 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Camilla Lewis organised a special event entitled 'Ageing, place-attachment and urban change' at the 2018 British Sociological Association conference. Lewis presented on the subject of 'Ageing in Place: community, belonging and social isolation' to an audience of 30 academics. The event raised attention about the project and stimulated a debate about ageing in place and inequality.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Doing Ageing Differently, Greater Manchester Age Friendly Conference, 13th February 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Camilla Lewis presented at the Doing Ageing Differently, Greater Manchester Age Friendly Conference to speak on the Inequalities panel. 100 people attended the panel including older third sector organisations, academic researchers, members of the local authority and older people. Camilla spoke about the effects of urban regeneration for ageing in place which lead to a discussion about inequalities among the older population.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/ageing/doing-ageing-differently-conference/
 
Description European Sociological Association conference paper August 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact Ruth Webber (RA) and Vanessa May presented a paper entitled 'Ageing in Place Over Time' at the European Sociological Association conference in August 2018 in Brno, Czech Republic. An audience of sociologists working across Europe were present.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Film entitled: Reimagining the future for older people living in Greater Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We commissioned a 6 minute film to summarise the main themes arising from our ESRC Festival of Social Science event with the attendees, our colleagues and the general public. The film has drawn attention to our project and sparked discussion about ageing in place and the future of cities for older people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlJRPWin6NQ
 
Description Greater Manchester Ageing Hub Housing, Planning and Ageing Group Meeting, 6th December 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact We we invited to present at the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub Housing, Planning and Ageing Group Meeting, 6th December 2018 a group of 15 policy makers and local stakeholders. We shared news about our project and the outcomes of the ESRC Festival of Social Science day. This was a valuable opportunity to network with people in Grater Manchester working on issues relating to ageing in place, such as housing and community support. They expressed an interest in being involved in future dissemination events and raised a number of questions how changes to older people's personal lives will affect ageing in place, which we will explore further in our analysis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Interview for Big Issue magazine November 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Camilla Lewis was interviewed for the Big Issue North about her work on how urban regeneration may cause social isolation among older populations. The article outlines how policy makers must understand the impact of redevelopment in order to support older people to ageing in place. It is anticipated that the article will have raised awareness about the research being undertaken in the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Interview with Northern Housing magazine Spring 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Camilla Lewis was interviewed for the Northern Housing magazine about her research on how urban regeneration may cause social isolation among older populations. The article outlines how policy makers must understand the impact of redevelopment in order to support older people to ageing in place. It is anticipated that the article will have raised awareness about the research being undertaken in the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Reimagining the future for older people living in Greater Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This event explored 'ageing in place,' an age-friendly strategy which is committed to helping older people to keep healthy and connected to their neighbours and to stay living for as long as possible at home. 20 older people and practitioners shared their ideas about the future of the city and their communities. A film was made about the event and circulated to key stakeholders to raise awareness and the project findings and extend our networks with practitioners and policy makers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018