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LunchUP: Jessica Finlay, "A Critical Approach to Aging in Place: Comparing Personal and Professional Perspectives from the Minneapolis Metropolitan Area"

LunchUP: Jessica Finlay, "A Critical Approach to Aging in Place: Comparing Personal and Professional Perspectives from the Minneapolis Metropolitan Area"

Jessica Finlay
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Social Environment and Health Program – Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

The concept of aging in place attracts older adults, scholars, policymakers, and service providers alike. Interviews with 125 independent-dwelling men and women (mean age 71 years) and ten policymakers/community service providers queried for elements of urban and suburban contexts that strengthen or weaken desires and abilities to age in place. Overall, interviewees emphasized the need for accessible and affordable housing, reliable services, robust transportation infrastructure, and suitable options for health and care. Perspectives of low-income participants diverged notably from mainstream conceptions: those in perilous subsidized housing desired to move to safer and more comfortable settings, and homeless participants did not have a stable home or community to age in place. Planning and implementation of aging in place framed in highly individualistic, resourced, and ableist conception did not address their everyday struggles, including the lack of affordable housing and defunding of supportive social services. This talk complicates idealized notions of aging in place, and suggests new theoretical and empirical directions to expand the concept to become more inclusive and socially just.

These sessions are a response to requests from faculty and students to learn more about what’s going on in the field in an informal environment. We hope this can inspire emergent thoughts and connections that will inform our scholarship. 

Lunch is included, please bring a drink.