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When Frail Older People Relocate in Very Old Age, Who Makes the Decision?

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Farquhar, Morag 
Buck, Jackie 
Barclay, Stephen 
Brayne, Carol 


Older people are likely to transition to a new home closer to family who can provide assistance or to long-term residential care as their health declines and their care needs increase. A minority choose to move to "age-friendly" housing before the onset of disability, but the majority prefer to "age in place" and defer moving until health crises compel a transition. Older people living with dementia are likely to move into residential care, but not much is known about the role they play in decision making around these moves. This qualitative study addresses this gap in knowledge by examining how a rare cohort of "older old" people, most with some level of cognitive impairment, were involved in decisions surrounding assistance seeking and moving to a care home. Thematic analysis of qualitative interview data from Cambridge City over-75s Cohort (CC75C) study participants aged 95 years and older, who had moved in later life, and their proxy informants (n = 26). Moves at such an old age were made due to a complexity of push and pull factors which had layered dynamics of decision making. In most cases (n = 22), decision making involved other people with varying degrees of decision ownership. Only four older people, who moved voluntarily, had full ownership of the decision to move. Many relatives reported being traumatized by events leading up to the move. "Older old" people are sometimes unable to make their own decisions about moving due to the urgency of health crisis and cognitive decline. There is a need to support relatives to discuss moving and housing options at timely junctures before health crises intervene in an effort to optimize older people's participation in decision making.



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Innovation in aging

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