Understanding the essence of home: older people's experience of home in Australia

Occup Ther Int. 2011 Mar;18(1):39-47. doi: 10.1002/oti.312. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


This qualitative inquiry explores the experiences of community-living older people in Australia living in their home environment. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 30 older people, aged 56-90, from three states in Australia. Purposive or maximum variation sampling was used to recruit people with diverse characteristics in terms of age, gender, living situation, dwelling type, tenure and location (urban/rural). Older people in this study stated that they were interested in the capacity of the house to support their many and varied occupations, particularly their ability to care for others. They also enjoyed the independence and autonomy that living in their own home afforded them. The location of the home in the community provided general convenience and offered opportunities for social connectedness. The home environment and the surrounding community also created an ambience and afforded people a particular lifestyle. The importance of the history of the home environment and the emotional connection older people have with the dwelling was another prevalent theme. Future research is recommended to investigate whether these views of the home are representative of other groups of older people and which aspects of the home they seek to retain when adapting their homes or relocating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged / psychology*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support