Moving residence in later life: actively shaping place and wellbeing

Manik Deepak-Gopinath* (Corresponding Author), Vikki Entwistle, Tim Kelly, Barbara Illsley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Policy discourse favours the idea of people ‘ageing in place’ but many older people move home and into different kinds of residential settings. This paper extends understanding of how relocation can promote as well as diminish older people’s wellbeing. Using relational understandings of both place and capabilities (people’s freedoms and opportunities to be and to do what they value) we explored wellbeing across the relocation trajectories of 21 people aged 65-91 years living in diverse residential settings in Scotland. We found that a diverse array of capabilities mattered for wellbeing and that relocation was often motivated by concerns to secure ‘at-risk’ capabilities for valued activities and relationships. Moving residence impacted several other capabilities, in addition to these, both, positively and negatively. We suggest that a capability approach offers a valuable lens for understanding and supporting wellbeing through relocation, with potential to overcome some key limitations of dominant behavioural models of late-life relocation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-161
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Ageing and Later Life
Issue number1
Early online date14 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

We thank all the study participants for sharing their experiences, and the reviewers and Dr Caroline Holland for their invaluable comments on this article. This work was supported through a Doctoral Fellowship at the School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee.


  • ageing capability
  • approach
  • housing
  • residential
  • relocation
  • well-being


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