In 2008, the United States witnessed the largest group of individuals in history become eligible for retirement. While a large amount of research has been devoted to understanding the impact of this large group in the area of social security, the research has been limited in the area of living options. Choices in retirement living include living alone, with family, in retirement housing, or in a nursing home. One other nontraditional option is taking root in the United States and abroad: cooperative living, or sharing a home with one or more people. This qualitative narrative inquiry explored the factors that influence individuals seeking non-traditional cooperative living arrangements in retirement. The stories of 18 individuals throughout the United States living cooperatively in the later years of life were explored. Factors associated with aging, including biological, psychological, social, and economic components, were analyzed for recurring and emerging themes. Three theories associated with aging were explored in terms of cooperative living, two of which appeared to be applicable, activity theory (Havighurst & Albrecht, 1953) and needs theory (Maslow, 1971; Orr, 1979). The third theory, disengagement theory (Cumming & Henry, 1961), was also explored with minimal application found to be associated with cooperative living in the later years of life. While economic factors influenced the decision to live cooperatively, social interaction through friendship and activity was the primary driving force for seeking this type of alternative living scenario. At a time when economic solvency was uncertain, this inquiry explored an alternative, cooperative living environment that satisfied both financial necessity and personal needs for interaction and socialization in the later years of life.
|Adviser||Toni Buchsbaum Greif|
|Subjects||Gerontology; Social structure|
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