Authors' Note: Funding for this project was received from the vice president for research and from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University. Christine C. Cook, PhD, is an associate professor in the Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies. Peter Martin, PhD, is a professor in the Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies. Mary Yearns, PhD, is a professor in the Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies. Mary Lynn Damhorst, PhD, is an associate professor in the Dept. of Apparel, Educational Studies, and Hospitality Management.
Attachment to “Place” and Coping with Losses in Changed Communities: A Paradox for Aging Adults
Version of Record online: 2 JUL 2009
2007 American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
Volume 35, Issue 3, pages 201–214, March 2007
How to Cite
Cook, C. C., Martin, P., Yearns, M. and Damhorst, M. L. (2007), Attachment to “Place” and Coping with Losses in Changed Communities: A Paradox for Aging Adults. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 35: 201–214. doi: 10.1177/1077727X06296794
- Issue online: 2 JUL 2009
- Version of Record online: 2 JUL 2009
- aging adults;
- attachment to place;
- community resources;
This article explores the meaning of place and connection to location among aging adults in America's Heartland. Focus groups were conducted in a rural and urban county with participants age 65 to 84 years, and age 85 years and older. A keen sense of place among participants was revealed, poignantly portrayed as “loss” among rural participants who described changes to the landscape, economic restructuring, and the loss of farming as a way of life. Changes in urban settings were depicted as a shrinking of space over which participants' exerted control (e.g., steering clear of freeway driving, limiting driving at night, traversing well-known surface streets). These losses in community are balanced against a strong desire to age in place in familiar settings in which there are known social and resource connections. The investigation illustrates the power of place for aging adults, and the need to recognize its importance in public policy, practice, advocacy, and research.