Aging in Place as a Society’s Age Structure Changes: Interviews with Italian Elders in Rome

By Joyce Weil and Nancy Karlin.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Italy has experienced a shift in age structure but is unique in having many frail elders seeking to age in place. The increase in the elder population has affected many aspects of Italian society. A shortage of caregivers and assisted living facilities has influenced retirement and immigration policies. To understand the daily experience of Italian elders (aged 63 to 90) aging in place, and programs and services available to assist them, 27 in-depth interviews were conducted at a local organization serving older persons in Rome. Interview data revealed elders’ daily routines included walks within the city, housework, and visiting a senior center. Many elders reported they “have what it takes to lead a happy life,” receive a pension from former employment, and are satisfied with life. However, the majority also indicated national health benefits were not sufficient for their needs and are “too bureaucratic.” Elders stated existing programs did not sufficiently cover services needed to age-in-place such as: transportation, shopping, preparing meals, and house cleaning. Using elders’ own assessments of programs designed to allow them to remain “in place” provides insight into aging in place realities and an informal assessment of how policies and programs meet the needs of contemporary elders.

Keywords: Aging in Place, Senior Center, Italy

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 193.585KB).

Dr. Joyce Weil

Assistant Professor, College of Natural and Health Sciences, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Joyce Weil, Ph.D., M.P.H., is an assistant professor of gerontology at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research interests are in aging in place, social support, resiliency, and quality of life for older persons.

Dr. Nancy Karlin

Professor, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado, USA

Nancy J. Karlin, Ph.D. is a professor of psychology at the University of Northern Colorado. She has specific research interests in familial caregiving of Alzheimer's disease patients, crosscultural aging similarities and differences, and resiliency after natural disasters.