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"What? That's for old people, that." Home adaptations, ageing and stigmatisation: a qualitative inquiry

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Dominic Aitken



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Older people, even those living with long-term conditions or poor mobility, can be supported to live well at home, through adapting their home to meet changing need. Installing home adaptations, from grab rails to walk in shower rooms, is cost effective, may prevent falls, reduce social isolation and improve self confidence. Despite austerity cuts to public spending, the UK government increased home adaptations’ funding. However, not much is known about older people’s experiences and understanding of acquiring and living with home adaptations and uptake of home adaptations could be improved. Using wearable camera and face to face interview data, this qualitative study explored a diverse group of older people’s retrospective experiences (n = 30). Focus group discussions were also carried out with a wide range of professionals involved in the provision of home adaptations (n = 39). Findings suggest people may delay having adaptations, because of perceived stigmatising associations with decline and vulnerability. As delaying the installation of home adaptations until crisis point is known to reduce their effectiveness, such associations need to be challenged.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bailey C, Aitken D, Wilson G, Hodgson P, Douglas B, Docking R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Year: 2019

Volume: 16

Issue: 24

Online publication date: 08/12/2019

Acceptance date: 29/11/2019

Date deposited: 13/12/2019

ISSN (print): 1661-7827

ISSN (electronic): 1660-4601

Publisher: MDPIAG


DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16244989


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Funder referenceFunder name
Centre for Ageing Better