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UBC Theses and Dissertations

It’s not quite like home : a study of institutionalized seniors’ experiences Grammer, Caroline E.


The focus of this research is to understand the experiences of institutionalized seniors existing within contemporary models of care and the impact of their institutional policies. This research examined how 8 institutionalized seniors, ranging in age from 65 years to 90 years, experienced daily living in a facility setting where a client-centred model of care is established. These personal experiences were then linked to a governing set of institutional policies. This study looks at the impact these policies have on these seniors' experiences. Qualitative data was gathered through in-depth interviews. These seniors recognized the irony of their marginalized experiences despite clientcentred models of care. This evolved as the major or overarching theme of this research. This theme was built on four paradoxical dimensions referred to as "incongruencies"; 1) home, but not home, 2) hurry up and wait, 3) very busy being bored, and 4) safe, but silenced. The informants worked in a variety of ways to cope with the incongruencies and contradictions in their environment including, lowering expectations, adopting dominant social language, values and beliefs, developing a survival support network, and manipulating the system to meet their needs. A discussion regarding the omission of key issues in policies, residual ageist policies contradicting current goals and philosophies of care facilities, and the failure to achieve genuine holistic client-centred care provide insight for social workers and health care professionals into the needs of frail institutionalized seniors.

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