Aging in Community: Mobilizing a New Paradigm of Older Adults as a Core Social Resource

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participatory action research, aging in place, appreciative inquiry, community-based participatory research


Dignity and independence are widely considered as core concepts to aging well, yet little research has explored how older adults perceive these issues in the context of community life. Moreover, little is known regarding the ways in which the broader public views and enhances aging with dignity and independence with their older residents. Using participatory action research, multiple methods of qualitative inquiry, and tenets of appreciative inquiry, this article reports on a community-based initiative aimed to better understand the positive aspects of aging with dignity and independence. Synthesized findings yielded 6 “actionable themes”: (1) meaningful involvement, (2) aging in place, (3) respect and inclusion, (4) communication and information, (5) transportation and mobility, and (6) health and well-being. The findings invoke a new paradigm for community aging that highlights the unique contributions of older adults as a core social resource. Implications for mobilizing community action to promote aging with dignity and independence are discussed.

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Journal of Applied Gerontology, v. 34, issue 2, p. 219-243

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