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OnderzoekUrban and Regional Studies InstitutePopulation Research Centre

Older adults in the Northern Netherlands: well-being and ageing in place

Principal researcher

Louise Meijering

Summary of the project

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 program is the relation between place identity and well-being as experienced by older adults.

A central aim is to find out where people want to grow old, and why they choose these specific places. 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 quality of life. The focus is on attachment to places at various spatial scales, such as the building (home), street, neighbourhood and village.

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, I draw on qualitative life-history interviews with older adults who live in the North of the Netherlands.

Papers in progress

  • Well-being and place attachment of older adults in the Northern Netherlands, Paper to be presented at the BSPS Conference in Exeter, 13-15 September 2010
Last modified:24 October 2014 2.12 p.m.