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Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute PRC

Ageing and environment

Principal researchers

Dr. Louise Meijering and Dr. Bettina van Hoven


2010 - present

Summary of the project

This project is about the experiences of older people who age in their own home or in a residential care home in Groningen. Older adults have built up attachments, both positive and negative, to different places throughout their lives. Important places may be, for instance, the parental home, attended secondary school, college town, favorite holiday country, or comfortable armchair. With ageing, a decrease in physical and mental abilities may deteriorate access to different places. A sense of belonging to meaningful places may be relived through memories, rather than through visiting them. Photographs and significant objects that are kept in the home place serve to keep these memories alive. It has been argued that attachment to place increases well-being in old age.

The overarching theme of the project is the relation between place attachment and well-being as experienced by older adults. One of the key ideas is that place attachment has a positive effect on the well-being of elderly people. Feeling ‘in place’ can increase an older person’s well-being, and with that his/her well-being. The focus is on attachment to places at various spatial scales, such as the building (home), street, neighbourhood and village. Our project links closely to the idea of age-friendly environments, as developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Central questions are 1) to which places do Dutch older adults feel attached? 2) how do they perceive that their attachment to these places affects their well-being? To answer these questions, we conduct qualitative life-history interviews with older adults living in Groningen. For publications, follow this link.

Last modified:10 July 2020 1.58 p.m.