Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Katrina Pann

Committee Member

Deanne Samuels

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham

Abstract

Elderly persons transitioning from home to a nursing home setting may struggle with unaddressed mental health issues. The problem addressed in this study involved a lack of evidence regarding how elderly individuals experience these transitions in living from their own perspectives. The purpose of this study was to better understand the lived experiences of elderly people who are making the transition from home to a nursing home setting.

The qualitative design utilized in the research was phenomenology. Fourteen participants were interviewed to ascertain their experiences in the transition from home to a nursing home setting. Follow-up questions were formulated and posed based on responses received from participants. The Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method of analysis of phenomenological data was used in analyzing the data collected from the interviews.

This study revealed (a) the lack of natural and community supports; (b) health issues; (c) poor self-care; (d) frustration, fear, and sadness about immobility; and (e) loneliness and depression among the elderly interviewed at the nursing home. Residents felt that their mental health was suffering because they were always alone and could begin to feel depressed or down. Recreational activities at the nursing home are very beneficial in supporting residents’ mental health as it gets them out or their room and helps them to feel less alone. Nursing home supports, including the social worker, are very helpful to talk to in order to openly process their innermost thoughts and feelings around the transition to the nursing home setting.

Further interviews should be conducted with a variety of nursing home residents and should be expanded to nursing home staff and family members to get their perspective regarding the transition from home to assisted care living for specific residents. Quantitative studies should also be performed to explore the breadth of the issue. This research can be applied to elderly people who are transitioning to a nursing home or rehabilitative placement in both short- and long-term placements. This research can be used to help to better inform families, workers, and elderly individuals who are considering moving from home to assisted care living.

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