Poster Session
Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
Aging in Place: Unique Considerations for the Middle-Income Senior
Author Affiliations
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Grand Valley State University
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Aging in Place: Unique Considerations for the Middle-Income Senior
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911505201.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911505201.

Date Presented 4/18/2015

In this qualitative study, we use focus groups to identify needs for middle-income seniors to age in place. Additionally, the role of occupational therapy in supporting these unique needs is described.

SIGNIFICANCE: In this study, we provide information specific to the needs of middle-income seniors. Although the overwhelming majority of aging in place (AIP) research has focused on broad populations of older adults, very little is known about the unique needs of middle-income seniors. Middle-income seniors may face significant and unique challenges to maintenance of residential living and AIP due to dynamic strains on resources and finances that are different than higher and lower income groups.
INNOVATION: The results from this study may help occupational therapists (OTs) understand this population and to facilitate direct care to meet their needs, including community resources. Improved allocation of community resources to fit the needs of middle-income seniors may benefit health care providers and facilities, the overall community, caregivers and families of the seniors, and the seniors themselves. The purpose of this study is to identify the prospective needs of a unique and understudied population of older middle-income adults and how these needs support the ability and success of AIP.
RATIONALE/BACKGROUND: Current gerontological and occupational therapy literature underscores the importance of AIP to the overall health and well-being of seniors. Despite an abundant range of literature regarding AIP and the role of income, very few studies acknowledge and explore specific income groups. Consequentially, very little is known about the ability, desire, and experience of middle-income seniors in regard to successfully AIP.
METHOD: This is a qualitative study utilizing focus groups. Transcribed data from the interviews will be analyzed with the framework analysis, which involves familiarization, identification of a thematic framework, indexing, charting, mapping, and interpretation. Focus groups will be held at a local church and/or a local community center in Battle Creek, Michigan. The location for the focus groups was selected to allow participants to attend without the need to travel outside of their local community. Participants for the focus groups will be recruited from the local Battle Creek, Michigan, area. The focus groups were advertised using a variety of materials, including the local radio, television, and newspaper. In addition, recruitment flyers were distributed at a local health fair. The criteria to participate in a focus group included the following: age 50 yr and older; middle income, which is defined as having an income of ∼$1,900 per month or 200% of the poverty line; Battle Creek, Michigan, residency; and not currently on Medicaid.
Study data will be analyzed with the framework analysis. Themes related to the experience of AIP among middle-income seniors in Battle Creek, Michigan, will be developed from the focus group data.
RESULTS: We anticipate that the focus group findings will provide insight and new knowledge on how OTs can assist middle-income seniors with needs associated with successful AIP.
CONCLUSIONS: Conclusions are not available at this time. This study lacks generalizability outside of the Battle Creek, Michigan, middle-income population.