The significance of social engagement in relocated older adults

Qual Health Res. 2009 Sep;19(9):1186-95. doi: 10.1177/1049732309343956.


Social networks and social support are recognized as important determinants of health. Relocation is a common transition in older adults' lives that can disrupt existing social networks and challenge seniors to reconstitute these networks. Social engagement is a required component of the process of reconstituting social relationships and of feeling connected. The purpose of this focused ethnographic study was to develop an understanding of the experience of social engagement in relocated residents of a senior-designated apartment building. Data generation included interviews with 19 older adults. Transcribed interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Seniors developed four types of relationships for provision of feelings of security, casual interactions, opportunity to be supportive, and friendship. The findings of this research provide a better understanding of the relationships seniors developed in a new community as a result of the process of social engagement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Object Attachment
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support