ERIC Number: ED312514
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Oct-21
Personal Coping Strategies of the Elderly in Housing Emergencies: Clues to Interventions To Prevent Homelessness and Institutionalization.
Keigher, Sharon M.; And Others
This study considered broadly the problem of homelessness by examining the housing difficulties of one at-risk population, the elderly, who presented needs to one city emergency service agency. A random sampling of some 500 emergency case files identified the prevalence of a wide range of emergency situations affecting the city's elderly. At least 50 percent had problems immediately related to housing: evictions, landlord-tenant disputes, utility shutoffs, deplorable housing conditions, need for temporary or emergency shelter, and being chronically undomiciled. From 126 cases involving either need for shelter or deplorable housing conditions, researchers were able to develop 91 case studies. Three risk factors for homelessness were found to be: (1) living alone and lacking social supports; (2) diminished mental functioning; and (3) having very low incomes. Coping patterns which were identified included daily life pattern, degree of autonomy, nature and meanings of attachments, denial, lifestyle theme, external factors, and overall ability to cope. The study revealed the magnitude of the deprivation some elderly individuals endure; the extent to which agency workers' behaviors, options, and interests are limited due to finite resources; and the importance of informal, long-term, often mutually satisfying helping relationships maintained by people in neighborhoods. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Retirement Research Foundation.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (117th, Chicago, IL, October 22-26, 1989).