The overall goal of the project is to learn how to create an assisted living facility (ALF) environment that maximizes residents'ability to negotiate and manage their relationships with other residents.
The specific aims are to: 1) to learn how residents experience relationships with other residents in ALFs;2) to understand how gender and other individual, sociocultural, and environmental factors shape how residents experience relationships with other residents;and 3) to identify successful strategies of residents and staff that support residents'ability to negotiate and manage social interactions and relationships with other residents. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be utilized. Seven (ALFs) in and around Atlanta will be selected to vary along the dimensions of gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status of residents and facility size, design, location, resident profile, ownership, and resources to include: two small with low-income residents (one where most or all residents are black and one where all residents are white); one medium-sized suburban ALF with moderate- to high-income Caucasian residents (most Jewish) and with a DCU;and four large ALFs, two in a small towns-one where most residents are Caucasian residents and moderate-income and with a high proportion of males and one where most residents are white and moderate- to high-income-one urban ALF with a DCU where all residents are moderate- to high- income and African American, and one suburban ALF with moderate-income Caucasian residents, a DCU, and on a campus with independent and skilled care facilities. Primary data collection methods will be face-to-face interviewing and participant observation. Approximately 233 residents will be selected for quantitative interviews, which will assess the structure, function, and adequacy of their social networks. About 84 of these residents will be purposively selected for an in-depth interview, which will focus on their attitudes and experiences regarding their interactions and relationships with other residents. In-depth interviews also will be conducted with 1-2 administrative and care staff in each home. Qualitative data will be analyzed using the grounded theory method, and standard quantitative methods will be utilized for quantitative data analysis. Results of this study will lead to increased knowledge of how AL residents experience their relationships with other residents, of how to maximize their ability to negotiate and manage these relationships, and, ultimately, to improve their overall quality of life. PUBLIC HEALTH REVELANCE Social relationships -- the recurrent patterns of interaction we have with others -- have profound effects on individuals'physical and mental well-being throughout the life course and into later life. Relationships with others are understood to influence life satisfaction, one's sense of self-worth, and quality of life, particularly in residential care settings. Findings from this study will form the basis of an intervention that will enhance these relationships and ultimately residents'quality of life in assisted living.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Community Influences on Health Behavior (CIHB)
Program Officer
Nielsen, Lisbeth
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Georgia State University
Other Health Professions
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Kemp, Candace L; Ball, Mary M; Perkins, Molly M (2016) Couples' Social Careers in Assisted Living: Reconciling Individual and Shared Situations. Gerontologist 56:841-54
Ball, Mary M; Kemp, Candace L; Hollingsworth, Carole et al. (2014) ""This is our last stop"": Negotiating end-of-life transitions in assisted living. J Aging Stud 30:1-13
Perkins, Molly M; Ball, Mary M; Kemp, Candace L et al. (2013) Social relations and resident health in assisted living: an application of the convoy model. Gerontologist 53:495-507
Sandhu, Navtej K; Kemp, Candace L; Ball, Mary M et al. (2013) Coming together and pulling apart: Exploring the influence of functional status on co-resident relationships in assisted living. J Aging Stud 27:317-29
Kemp, Candace L; Ball, Mary M; Perkins, Molly M (2013) Convoys of care: theorizing intersections of formal and informal care. J Aging Stud 27:15-29
Kemp, Candace L; Ball, Mary M; Hollingsworth, Carole et al. (2012) Strangers and friends: residents' social careers in assisted living. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 67:491-502