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Cultivating Home: Our Home for All Ages & Stages of Life

  • Author / Creator
    Johnson, Linda Marie
  • Although the desire is strong among Canada’s rapidly aging population to age-in-place, research reveals few have adequately prepared their current homes to support them later in life. While environmental gerontologists and occupational therapists have studied the meaning of home and the impact of imposed home modifications on residents who age-in-place, no known research has brought together material culture and the renovation experiences of older homeowners who proactively have modified their home in an age-friendly manner. This research sought to answer the question: What material culture themes are revealed, and knowledge gained, by examining the perceptions of older homeowners’ multifaceted meanings of home involved in independently making the decision to transition their home from a non age-friendly to an age-friendly space? An exploratory, ethnographically orientated, case study methodology was adopted to investigate two households who undertook age-friendly renovations. Data collection included a home artifact analysis, homeowner guided tour, life history interview, home renovation interview, and participant journaling. Thematic analysis revealed the material culture themes of affordance, identity, memory, and attachment, were active in the renovation process. Affordance occurred when the homeowners perceived the renovation supported their desired tasks and activities. Common to the homeowners’ identities were the personal traits of being autonomous, prideful, up-to-date, patient, mindful, prudent, talented, and resourceful. The force an object has to illustrate the past, invoke involuntary recall, and serve as a historical record, informed their memories. Attachment to possessions further fostered their sense of identity, for as they aged, possessions were increasingly valued for their linkage to others, alive and passed on. Examination of attachment to place, within the context of the emotional historical experiences of their childhood and a lifetime of functional knowledge based experiences, highlighted how these contextualized human experiences combined to spark actions that resulted in age-friendly renovations. Eye opening was the degree to which the homeowner’s attachment to the home’s immediate exterior space, including the garden, influenced their decision to modify their home’s interior space.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2018
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R37M04F8K
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.