Staying Put: Factors Associated with Ageing in One’s ‘Lifetime Home’. Insights from the European Context

Celia Fernández-Carro, Maria Evandrou


‘Ageing in Place’ is a theoretical-practical concept used to promote those policies that facilitate older people stay at home as alternative to institutionalisation. While the political application of the term seems to presuppose universal benefits for those who age at home, critical gerontology has questioned alluding to the complexity of ageing process and the reductionist view that often underlies the institutional discourse around these policies. The aim of this article is to shed light on the premises assumed by the ‘Ageing in Place’ implementation, analysing the factors associated to a particular type of older Europeans; those with long-lasting residential trajectories. Using data from SHARE (wave 1, 2004), this work analyses the characteristics of those individuals aged 65 and over who for most of their life have presented a pattern of residential stability. The length of residential trajectory is assessed depending on socio-demographic characteristics, resources and support exchange networks and residential conditions. Special attention is paid to regional variations, comparing eleven countries of continental Europe. The main contribution of this article is to provide empirical findings that enhance the progression in an under-researched topic as residential immobility, discussing the assumptions that underlie to the implementation of ‘ageing in place’ policies in Europe, especially when it implies a disadvantaged living situation.



stay put, ageing in place, old age, Europe, residential dynamics.

Full Text:



Allen, J., Barlow, J., Leal, J., Maloutas, T., & Padovani, L. (2004). Housing and welfare in Southern countries. Oxford: Oxford, Blackwell Publishing.

Arber, S., & Evandrou, M. (1997). Mapping the territory. Ageing, independence and life course. In S. Arber & M. Evandrou (Eds.), Ageing, independence and life course. Londres: Jessica Kingsley Publishers / British Society of Gerontology.

Boelhouwer, P., & Van der Heiden, H. (1993). Housing policy in seven European countries: The role of politics on housing. Journal of Housing and Built Environment, 8(4), 383-404.

Bonnet, C., Gobillon, L., & Laferrere, A. (2008). The effect of widowhood on housing and location choices Documents du Travail (Vol. 154). Paris: Institut National Etudes Démographiques.

Bordone, V. (2009). Contact and proximity of older people to their adult children: A comparison between Italy and Sweden. Population, Space and Place, 15, 359-380.

Börsch-Supan, A. (1990). A dynamic analysis of household dissolution and living arrangement transition by elderly Americans. In D. A. Wise (Ed.), Issues in the economic of ageing (pp. 89-120): University of Chicago Press.

Castle, N. G. (2001). Relocation of the Elderly. Medical Care Research Review, 58, 291-333.

Clapham, D. (2005). The meaning of housing. A pathways approach. Bristol: The policy press-University of Bristol.

Clark, W., Deurloo, M., & Dieleman, F. (2003). Housing Careers in the United States, 1968-93. Modelling the Sequencing of Housing States. Urban Studies, 40(143-160).

Clark, W. S. V., & Davies, S. (1990). Elderly mobility and mobility outcomes: households in the later stage of the life course. Research on Ageing, 12, 430-462.

Costa-Font, J., Elvira, D., & Miró, O. M. (2009). Ageing in place? exploring elderly people's housing preferences in Spain. Urban Studies, 46, 295-316.

Davies, A., & James, A. (2011). Geographies of Ageing. Socials Processes and the Spatial Unevenness of Population Ageing. London: Ashgate.

De Santis, G., Segheri, C., & Tanturri, M. L. (2008). Poverty trends among the elderly: What will the future hold? In J. Gaymu, P. Festy, M. Poulain, & G. Beets (Eds.), Future Elderly Living Conditions in Europe. (pp. 117-138). Paris: Institut Nationale Etudes Démographiques.

DeJong, P., Rouwendal, J., Hattum, P. v., & Brouwer, A. (2012). Housing preferences of ageing population: investigation in the diversity among Dutch older adults Netspar Discussion Papers.

Evandrou, M., Falkingham, J., & Green, M. (2010). Migration in later life: evidence from the British Household Panel Study. Population Trends, 141( Autumn 2010).

Evandrou, M., & Falkinham, J. (2009). Pensions and income security in later life. In J. Hills, T. Sefton, & K. Stewart (Eds.), Towards a More Equal Society?: Poverty, Inequality and Policy Since 1997 (Vol. 157-178). Bristol: The Policy Press.

Feijten, P. (2005). Life events and the housing career: A retrospective analysis of timed efects: Eburon publishers.

Festy, P., & Rychtarikova, J. (2008). Living conditions for elderly in the late twenty century. In J. Gaymu, P. Festy, M. Poulain, & G. Beets (Eds.), Future Elderly Living Conditions in Europe. Paris: Institut National Etudes Démographiques.

Fischer, P. A., Holm, E., Malmberg, G., & Straubhaar, T. (2000). Why do people stay? Insider advantages and (Im)mobility. In H. I. o. I. Economics (Ed.), HWWA Discussion Paper (Vol. 112). Hamburg: Hamburg Institute of International Economics.

Freedman, V. (1996). Family structure and the risk of nursing home admission. Journals of Gerontology, 51(2), 61-69.

Gibb, K. (2002). Trends and change in social housing finance and provision within the European Union. Housing Studies, 17(2), 325-336.

Gilleard, C., & Higgs, P. (2005). Context of ageing. Class, cohort and community. Cambridge: Polity press.

Gilleard, C., Hyde, M., & Higgs, P. (2007). The impact of age, place, aging in place, and attachment to place on the well-being of the over 50s in England. Research on Ageing, 29, 590-604.

Grundy, E., & Jitlal, M. (2007). Socio-demographic variations in moves to institutional care 1991-2001: a record linkage study from England and Wales. Age and Ageing, 36(4), 424-430.

Hjälm, A. (2013). The ‘Stayers’: Dynamics of Lifelong Sedentary Behaviour in an Urban Context. Population, Space and Place. doi: 10.1002/psp.1796

Houben, P. P. J. (2001). Changing Housing for Elderly People and Co-ordination Issues in Europe. Housing Studies, 16(5), 651-673.

Isengard, B., & Szydlik, M. (2012). Living apart (or) together? Co-residence of elderly parents and their adult children in Europe. Research on Ageing, 34(4), 449-474.

Joseph, A. E., & Chalmers, A. I. L. (1995). Growing old in place: a view from rural New Zealand. Health & Place, 1(2), 79-90.

Kohli, M., Künemund, H., & Lüdicke, J. (2005). Family structure, proximity and contact. In A. Börsch-Supan, A. Brugiavini, H. Jürges, A. Kapteyn, J. Mackenbach, J. Siegrist, & G. Weber (Eds.), Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. First Results from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. Mannheim: Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Ageing.

Kulu, H., & Milewski, N. (2007). Family change and migration in the life course: an introduction. Demographic research, 17(19), 567-590.

Litwak, E., & Logino, C. F. (1987). Migration patterns among the elderly: A developmental perspective. The Gerontologist, 27(3), 266-272.

Means, R. (2007). Safe as houses? Ageing in place and vulnerable people in the UK. Social Policy and Administration, 41(1), 65-85.

Mellander, C., Florida, R., & Stolarick, K. (2011). Here to stay. The effects of community satisfaction on the decision to stay. Spatial Economic Analysis, 6(1), 5-24.

Mulder, C. (2007). The family context and the residential choice: a challenge for new research. Population, Space and Place, 13(265-278).

Mulder, C., & Hooimeijer, P. (1999). Residential relocations in the life course. In L. v. Wissen & P. Dysktra (Eds.), Population issues: and interdisciplinary focus: Kluwer Academics / Plenum Publishers.

OECD. (1994). New orientations for social policy Social Policy Studies (Vol. 12). Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Oldman, C. (2003). Deceiving, theorizing and self-justification a critique of independent living. Critical Social Policy 23, 44-62.

Phillips, J., Ajrouch, K., & Hillcoat-Nallétamby, S. (2010). Key Concepts in Social Gerontology. London: Sage.

Piggot, J., & Sane, R. (2007). Residential transitions among Australian elderly. Research paper. Australian Institute for Population Ageing Research.

Rossi, P. H. (1955). Why Families Move? A Study in the Social Psychology of Urban Residential Mobility. Glencoe: Free Press.

Sabia, J. J. (2008). There is no place like home. A hazard model analysis of ageing in place among older homeowners in the PSID. Research on Ageing, 30(1), 3-35.

Schofield, V., Davey, J. A., Keeling, S., & Parsons, M. ( 2006). Ageing in place. In J. Boston & J. Davey (Eds.), Implications of Population Ageing: Opportunities and Risks (pp. 275-306). Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies.

Sergeant, J. F., & Ekerdt, D. J. (2008). Motives for residential mobility in later life: post-move perspectives of elders and family members. International Journal of Ageing Development, 66(2), 131-154.

Sixsmith, A., & Sixsmith, J. (2008). Ageing in place in the United Kingdom. Ageing International, 32(3), 219-235.

Smits, A., Van Gaalen, A., & Mulder, C. (2010). Parent -child coresidence: who moves in with whom and for whose needs? Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 1022-1033.

Speare, A. J., Avery, R., & Lawton, L. (1991). Disability, residential mobility and changes in living arrangements. Journal of Gerontology, 46(3), 133 - 142.

Tomassini, C., & Glaser, K. (2007). Family networks and support in later life: the perspective of the demographer. Paper presented at the XLIII Scientific Meeting of the Società Italiana di Statistica (Italian Society of Statistics), Turin (Italy).

UN. (2002). Second World Assembly of Ageing. Political declaration and Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. In U. Nations (Ed.), (pp. 8-10 April). Madrid: United Nations.

Walker, A. (2006). Active ageing in employment : its meaning and potential. Asia-Pacific Review, 13(1), 78-93.

Wiles, J. (2005). Conceptualizing place in the care of older people: the contributions of geographical gerontology. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 14(s2), 100-108.

Wiles, J. L., Leibing, A., Guberman, N., Reeve, J., & Allen, R. E. S. (2012). The meaning of 'Ageing in Place' for older people. The Gerontologist, 52(3), 357-366.


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

RASP - Research on Ageing and Social Policy | ISSN: 2014-671X

Legal Deposit: B.19757-2013 | |