Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Aging in America continues to reveal multi-faceted concerns for both the industry and retirees; insufficient retirement savings, loneliness, and a high influx of older adults entering the retirement scene. It is expected that by 2030, 18% of the nation's population, the baby boomers, will have turned 65 (Cohn & Taylor, 2010). This demographic reality has led to increased research seeking answers to questions which emerge about the retirement age population. The Age Well Study is a longitudinal study looking at the impact of residing in a Life Plan Community. The data is collected through self-report measures by residents in the communities and looks at various aspects of the environment and older adults' health and satisfaction in response to those aspects. This study examined the data collected from the Age Well Study, specifically, the following three aspects; resident voice, organizational transparency and staff interaction. Three sequential regressions were run testing each of the three outcome variables (Psycho-Social Well-Being, General Satisfaction, and Retirement Satisfaction) against all three predictors (Staff Interaction, Resident Voice, and Transparency) and all three covariates (Age, Income, Race/Ethnicity). All three sequential regressions used a two-step procedure where the covariates were entered first, and then the predictor variables. The results were consistent with the hypotheses. In general, all three variables were significant predictors of all three outcome variables after controlling for race, income, and age. If these predictors serve to influence general satisfaction for older adults, this only further underscores the mandate community leaders have to produce environments where older adults can feel in control, know the happenings around the community, and include frequent staff and resident interaction. Admittedly, it may be challenging for community leaders to produce these interactions with residents, while operating during a worldwide pandemic. Likewise, older adults may become reticent in their engagement with the community for safety precautions, and thus influence their own psycho-social well-being, general satisfaction and retirement satisfaction. This decrease in engagement may also be driven by technological barriers. Seifert, Cotton, & Xie (2020) assert the idea of ‘a double burden of exclusion' in the face of COVID-19, both socially and technologically. Community leaders must attend to this need and bridge the digital divide by offering technological support to those who may need it, in order to keep older adults involved with the community. It is also worth noting that the sample used in this study was derived from a multitude of Life Plan Communities, which provide a wealth of resources for older adults. Future research should explore if such predictors are just as significant in other kinds of communities.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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