ERIC Number: ED229206
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr-27
Reference Count: 0
Social Integration of the Rural Elderly: Implications for Service Delivery.
Rowles, Graham D.
A 3-year (1978-81) participant observation study examined the involvement within the spaces and places of the lives of 15 elderly residents (ranging in age from 62 to 91) of a declining rural Appalachian community, to develop an understanding of their milieu and its relationship to their level of well being. Close interpersonal relationships were established at the study's commencement. Data were derived from an experiential methodology employed during summer residence in the community; bi-weekly visits throughout the 3 years; observation; informal tape-recorded interviews; and various research procedures, e.g., time/space activity diaries, cognitive mapping tasks, measurement of social support networks, photography (including aerial), and seven different life satisfaction measures. Findings revealed spatial and place oriented dimensions of physical, social, and autobiographical "insideness" that provided a supportive sense of integration within the environment; participants had evolved distinctive constellations of support consonant with their changing personal needs and environmental circumstance; and most were members of a distinctive "society of the old" and were integrated within a larger community that provided the benefits of an indigenous support system and sustained them as they grew more vulnerable. Data justified a person-based indigenous system more attuned to rural culture and the geographical constraints of servicing spatially dispersed populations. (Author/NQA)
Descriptors: Community Satisfaction, Delivery Systems, Environmental Influences, Human Relations, Interpersonal Relationship, Life Satisfaction, Older Adults, Personal Space, Proximity, Quality of Life, Rural Population, Social Environment, Social Integration, Social Networks, Social Support Groups, Well Being
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Aging (DHHS/NIH), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (78th, San Antonio, TX, April 25-28, 1982).