Wellbeing in retirement villages: eudaimonic challenges and opportunities

Rebecca C Chandler, Oliver C Robinson
Journal of Aging Studies 2014, 31: 10-9
A retirement village consists of a collection of privately owned or leased flats or maisonettes for elderly adults that are supported by a central hub that provides catering, medical care and social activities. There have been studies of the psychological experience and impacts of such environments, however, there is lack of research that links the retirement village experience to overarching theories of eudaimonic wellbeing, and that uses qualitative methods to find out about how wellbeing manifests for the individual. This study used Ryff's (1989) model of wellbeing as a framework for analysis, while aiming to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences and sources of wellbeing in residents of two retirement villages in the South East of England. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 18 residents. Thematic analysis revealed a dialectical tension to retirement village living: while facilitating all six core components of eudaimonic wellbeing as conceptualized by Ryff's model, individuals living within the retirement villages also experience challenges to wellbeing on the same dimensions. An integrative model of these tensions between positive and negative experiences is presented and discussed.

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