Aging well in the community : Understanding the complexities of older people's dial-a-ride bus journeys
Luoma-Halkola, H., & Jolanki, O. (2021). Aging well in the community : Understanding the complexities of older people's dial-a-ride bus journeys. Journal of Aging Studies, 59, Article 100957. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2021.100957
Published inJournal of Aging Studies
© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Older peoples' independent living in their own homes and their ability to move around and maintain social relations in their communities have been acknowledged as important aims to support their well-being. In this article, we study Special Transport Services as a means to support older persons with ‘aging in place’ – that is, within their communities. From “go-alongs” (shared dial-a-ride bus journeys) and “sit-down interviews” (at participant's home or a café) with 12 older people living in a Finnish suburb, we explored their everyday dial-a-ride bus trips to the local mall. We used actor-network theory and the concept of motility to show how at first glance what appeared to be simple dial-a-ride journeys were in fact produced by a complex and fluid actor network consisting of people, rules, norms, practices, technical devices, as well as other objects and tools. Associations between various human and non-human actors compensated for the functional limitations experienced by the participants, but also created difficulties during the journeys. Our main finding is that the actor network of dial-a-ride bus did physically help older people be more mobile, but at the same time the service required a wide range of know-how and skills. We argue that developing a truly age-friendly environment – with inclusive services to help older individuals age well within their community – requires a detailed understanding from their perspective of the actor networks that produce those services. When planning old age services, there is a need to engage with older people from different social backgrounds to develop services that are genuinely supportive and easy to use for a heterogeneous group. Our findings can be utilized in developing physical and social environments that better support older people's mobility and enable them to age well in the community. ...
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Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by ‘The Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care’ [grant number 312311] and ‘Towards Eco-Welfare State: Orchestrating for Systemic Impact’ [grant number 327161]- research project, which are both funded by the Academy of Finland.
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