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Independent living with mobility restrictions: older people's perceptions of their out-of-home mobility

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Document pages: 22 pages

Abstract: We studied older people s perceptions of how they organise their out-of-home mobility and independent living when they face mobility restrictions, based on seven focus groups with older people (N = 28) from a suburb in Finland. This article provides an everyday life view of how the ability to move outside the home evolves through interdependencies between older people and their neighbourhoods, social relations and societal arrangements. Our findings show that supportive socio-material surroundings can provide older people with new ways to move outside their home despite mobility restrictions and new ways to organise their daily life with decreased mobility. In contrast, restrictive socio-material surroundings can lead to situations in which older people forgo certain out-of-home journeys and activities. The findings contribute to an understanding that organising one s daily life and out-of-home mobility is an act of interdependence. Policies promoting independent living in old age should recognise these fundamental interdependencies and support versatile ways of living rather than overemphasise activity and self-reliance. Based on older people s everyday life perspectives, both sides of the coin need to be considered: how to enable the out-of-home mobility of older people facing mobility restrictions and how to support them in managing and enjoying daily life with decreased mobility.

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