Live the way you always have, only better': Contested narratives of the move into a retirement residence

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Henderson, Ella
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University of Guelph

This thesis is a qualitative investigation of the relationship between built environments for the aged and self-identity in later life. I contribute to this broad theoretical question through a comparison of narratives about retirement residences that are offered by residents themselves and by residence promotional material. Data were gathered using the techniques of participant observation, semistructured interviews with seniors who had experienced the decision to move into a retirement residence, and qualitative textual analysis of promotional material used by each of the three field sites. I argue that conflicting narratives about the meaning and experience of moving into a retirement residence are evident in a comparison of residents' and providers' narratives, and that retirement residences should therefore be described as spaces of contested meaning in the postmodern landscape of later life.

relationship, built environments, aged, self-identity, later life, retirement residences, meaning, experience