Participation and Independence in Old Age - Aspects of home and neighbourhood environments

Maria Haak

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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The current trend in Sweden is to support older people to remain living in their own homes as long as possible. Older people spend much of their daily life within the home and neighbourhood environment. It is well known that participation and independence is important in experiencing well being in old age. Thus from a health-promotion perspective it is interesting to uncover aspects within the home and neighbourhood environment that might relate to participation and independence in old age, in particular in very old age since resent research within this area is rather unexplored. Thus the overarching aim of this thesis was to explore old and very old people's participation and independence, focusing on aspects of home and neighbourhood environments. Public facilities in the neighbourhood important to visit were reported and a majority of problems in the neighbourhood environment were perceived along walking routes. Home was experienced as the locus and origin for participation and a signification of independence. Two dimensions of participation; Performance-oriented participation and Togetherness-oriented participation emerged and were statistically validated and objective as well as subjective home and neighbourhood variables were related the two dimensions of participation. The concept of independence was found to be a complex construct and there is a need of further explorations as regards the differentiation between independence and autonomy. The results of this thesis have further deepened the knowledge about very old peoples? own experiences of participation and independence as well as their relationships to the home and neighbourhood environment. The results are useful in future research on interventions on individual and societal level foremost in community-based occupational therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Sustainable occupations and health in a life course perspective
  • Iwarsson, Susanne, Supervisor
  • Sixsmith, Judith, Supervisor, External person
  • Malmgren Fänge, Agneta, Supervisor
Award date2006 Dec 15
ISBN (Print)91-85559-56-3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2006-12-15
Time: 09:00
Place: Vårdvetenskapens Hus, Baravägen 3, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Townsend, Elizabeth
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada


<div class="article_info">Maria Valdemarsson, Elisabeth Jernryd and Susanne Iwarsson. <span class="article_issue_date">2005</span>. <span class="article_title">Preferences and frequencies of visits to public facilities in old age - a pilot study in a Swedish town center.</span> <span class="journal_series_title">Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics</span>, <span class="journal_volume">vol 40</span> <span class="journal_pages">pp 15-28</span>. <span class="journal_distributor">Department of Health Sciences</span></div>
<div class="article_info">Maria Haak, Synneve Dahlin Ivanoff, Agneta Fänge, Judith Sixsmith and Susanne Iwarsson. <span class="article_issue_date">2007</span>. <span class="article_title">Home as the locus and origin for participation. Experiences among very old swedish people.</span> <span class="journal_series_title">OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health</span>, <span class="journal_distributor">Department of Health Sciences</span> (inpress)</div>
<div class="article_info">Maria Haak, Agneta Fänge, Susanne Iwarsson and Synneve Dahlin Ivanoff. <span class="article_issue_date">2006</span>. <span class="article_title">Home as a signification of independence and autonomy. Experiences among very old Swedish people.</span> <span class="journal_series_title">Journal of Occupational Therapy</span>, <span class="journal_distributor">Department of Health Sciences</span> (inpress)</div>
<div class="article_info">Maria Haak, Agneta Fänge, Vibeke Horstmann and Susanne Iwarsson. <span class="article_issue_date"></span>. <span class="article_title">Two dimensions of participation in very old age and their relations to home and neighbourhood environments.</span> <span class="journal_distributor">Department of Health Sciences</span> (submitted)</div>

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Occupational Therapy (Closed 2012) (013025000)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Occupational Therapy


  • grounded theory
  • home
  • independence
  • neighbourhood environment
  • occupational therapy
  • participation
  • very old people
  • Medicine (human and vertebrates)
  • Rehabilitering (medicinsk och social)
  • revalidation
  • rehabilitation
  • kinesitherapy
  • Occupational health
  • industrial medicine
  • Yrkesmedicin
  • arbetsmiljömedicin
  • Physical medicine
  • Gerontologi
  • Gerontology
  • Medicin (människa och djur)
  • Social sciences
  • Samhällsvetenskaper


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