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Illuminating meanings of thriving for persons living in nursing homes

journal contribution
posted on 2021-01-04, 01:47 authored by Rebecca Baxter, Per-Olof Sandman, Sabine Björk, Qarin LoodQarin Lood, David EdvardssonDavid Edvardsson
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. Background and Objectives: Thriving has been described as a multidimensional concept that can be used to explore place-related well-being; however, there has been limited research into the meaning of thriving in aged care. This study aimed to illuminate meanings of thriving as narrated by persons living in nursing homes. Research Design and Methods: Narrative interviews were conducted with 21 persons residing in a rural Australian nursing home. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and interpreted using a phenomenological hermeneutic approach. Results: Meanings of thriving could be understood as: Striving toward acceptance of being in a nursing home while maintaining a positive outlook; Feeling supported and cared for while maintaining a sense of independence; Balancing opportunities for solitude and company while living with others; and, Feeling a sense of home while residing in an institutional environment. The meanings of thriving, as presented through the interpretive lens of Gaston Bachelard's "Poetics of Space,"encompassed having access to literal, metaphorical, and symbolic doors, as well as having the freedom to open, close, and use these doors however the person wishes. Discussion: Exploring meanings of thriving in nursing homes could contribute towards understanding and implementing positive life-world constructs in research and practice. These findings could be used to inform and enhance person-centered care practices by maximizing opportunities for persons residing in nursing homes to have options and choices, and the agency to make decisions where possible, in relation to their everyday care and living environment.


This work was supported by The FORTE: The Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (Forskningsradet for halsa, arbetsliv och valfard) [2014-4016]; The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsradet) [521-2014-2715]; and, The Medical Faculty, Umea University [311-839-13].


Publication Date



Gerontologist, The






pp859-867 (9p.)


Gerontological Society of America



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