Master of Science
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Intergenerational housing programs in which young and older adults live together have been implemented worldwide, yet research exploring these programs is sparse. An important component of intergenerational living seems to be the activities that young and older adults engage in together. Taking a lens of co-occupation, that is everyday occupations performed together by two or more people, this thesis explored how university students and older adults, living together in a retirement home, enacted co-occupations and the factors that shaped these co-occupations. A focused ethnography, involving interviews and observations, was used to gain insight into the co-occupational experiences of the students and older adults. Thematic analysis of data generated findings regarding the roles of participants, using music as a tool to connect, connecting through informal co-occupations, diverse and mutually beneficial relationships, navigating tensions regarding differing perspectives, and experiencing discrepancies between physical ability and the nature of co-occupations.
Summary for Lay Audience
Intergenerational housing programs create a space where young and older adults can live together. Intergenerational housing programs have been used to improve the lives of older adults by reducing loneliness, improving intergenerational relationships, building communication skills, and enhancing social connectedness. An important component of intergenerational living seems to be the activities that the young and older adults engage in together. This thesis explored how co-occupations, that is everyday occupations performed together by two or more people, were enacted between university students and older adults living together in a retirement home, including the factors that shaped the co-occupations.
Students and older adults living at the study site retirement home were recruited to participate in interviews to discuss their experiences living in an intergenerational retirement home and the co-occupations that they engaged in. In addition, the researcher observed the co-occupations that took place at the retirement home in order to better understand how they were enacted and the factors that shaped them. Transcripts of the interviews and notes and diagrams from observations were analyzed to identify important ideas and themes.
Findings from this study include insights into the different roles of the students and older adults, how music was used as a tool to connect the generations, how people connected through informal co-occupations, the diverse and mutually beneficial relationships, navigating tensions regarding differing perspectives, and experiencing discrepancies between physical ability and the nature of co-occupations. Overall, this study contributes to the understanding of intergenerational housing programs and co- occupation between young and older adults.
Gorjup, Rachel J., "Exploring Co-Occupation Between University Students and Older Adults Living Together in a Retirement Home" (2020). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7239.
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