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.
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