Creating 'home': A phenomenonological study on place transitions of culturally diverse older women
The purpose of this study was to determine the meaning older women attach to their homes as they experience place transitions or relocation. As these women move to other places of residence, professionals could aid in developing adequate interventions and assistance strategies to more adequately help their clients adapt to these changes. By understanding how these women view "home," how they adapt to change, and how they value people, places, activities and resources, professionals will be able to make an impact on practices aimed at educating students, occupational therapists and other health professionals in more authentic, effective methods of care.
Phenomenology is the design concept for this research and follows the work described by Husserl, Van Manen and Merleau-Ponty in terms of documenting the lived experiences of older women. In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 women who had relocated from one place of residence to another. The women, between the ages of 71 and 94, were from varying cultural, ethnic and religious backgroimds. Participant interviews took place with women from Texas, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Hawaii, France and Egypt. The diversity of participant backgrounds included: Chinese,Irish, Russian/Jewish, Swedish, Egyptian/Islamic, German, African-American, French, Fmish/Norwegian, Hispanic, English and Italian.
The interviews were audiotaped and, along with field notes, transcribed and categorized into an N-Vivo qualitative software program. In order to meaningfully understand the phenomenon of place transition, a thematic analysis was undertaken and used as a hermeneutic tool in the tradition of Van Manen.