Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Kinesiology (MKin)


Kinesiology and Physical Education

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Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Paula Fletcher

Advisor Role




This research examines the lived experiences of seniors living within a retirement home (RH) and their social relationships with friends, family, and RH peers. The phenomena is explored through two perspectives (the senior and their support person) in order to better understand how retirement home living affects individuals’ social patterns and social well-being.


The theoretical orientation used to guide this study was phenomenology. After completing a background questionnaire, one-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 women living in a retirement home and 7 primary support persons. Interviews were transcribed verbatim for further data analysis. Field notes, member checks, and triangulation were used to enhance the credibility of the research.


Four key themes emerged: (1) It’s all in the attitude; (2) Barriers to friendship; (3) Life beyond the RH; (4) The bigger picture. The following themes and their respective subthemes highlighted the various factors that influenced social life and relationships within a retirement home. Despite the challenges associated with RH living, all participants recognized the RH was the best place for the seniors to be.


Participants’ narratives revealed the realisms of making and maintaining social relationships while living in a RH. The dual perspective from seniors and their support persons provided insights into effective methods of keeping seniors socially active, as well as suggestions on how to foster meaningful social participation and interactions.

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Available for download on Monday, December 16, 2019