Exploring the Landscape of "Community" in Aging Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches
Using data from a sample of older Mexican American men in Houston, Texas, the first paper describes the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to explore the communities of adults who inject heroin, and specifically how drug treatment services located in their communities may impact drug abuse behavior. The second paper uses survey data from older workers in the Northeast to explore the mechanisms through which workplace-based communities affect individuals' psychological well-being, for better and for worse. With specific attention to older adults in naturally occurring retirement communities in New York, the third paper uses a grounded theory approach to explore how supportive relationships among neighbors might contribute to aging in place. Finally, drawing on photo elicitation interview techniques with older adults residing in budget hotels in Georgia, the fourth paper will describe perceptions and the personal significance of “micro-community” affiliations.
A discussant will help to reiterate patterns of similarity in findings that emerge across these papers, while also identifying issues that are unique to the particular contexts and methodologies of each study. Implications for community practice and future community-focused research with diverse subgroups of older adults will also be discussed.