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Residents' negotiation of the private/public dichotomy in assisted living
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5295-2482
2008 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

 This qualitative study, based on interviews and observations in a home for older people, compares the organization of spaces in ordinary living with the organization of spaces in assisted living with the aim of revealing how the dichotomy private/public is negotiated in space by the residents. Each resident lives in one room in the studied home which is divided in a bedroom area closest to the door with adjacent bathroom and an inner part which is a living room area. The most private spaces in an ordinary dwelling, the bedroom and bathroom, are the most public in assisted living in the sense that they are the spaces where most intimate care takes place. The old person-s nakedness and dependence is exposed to the gaze of other persons, mainly staff. The inner part of the private room contains the few private pieces of furniture the resident possesses as well as lots of photos of immediate family and the person itself. This area is seldom visited by other residents or the staff. However, occasionally demented co-residents enter other residents- room by mistake. Women are more disturbed by this than men especially if the intruder is a man. Doors are never locked and they are often left open when the resident is somewhere else or in the room. Other spaces in the home are shared, dining room as well as living room. Residents find favourite seating in these spaces at the dining table and in the sofas available. At the dining table conflicts could arise between residents if one of them believes that another person has taken -his- or -her- seat. Staff mediates in these situations. The study concludes that in this assisted living there is in reality no space the residents completely control but this must be evaluated against other aspects of living together.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Architecture, private care
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-43949Local ID: 75213OAI: diva2:264810
European Network of Housing Research Conference, Dublin
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2015-04-22

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