The currently featured article, “Choosing among Residential Options: Results of a Vignette Experiment” (Caro et al 2012) explores the commonly held notions that it is adult children who motivate relocation from home to some form of a retirement community or institutional care. They have identified that there are several factors in the decision to relocate, including current functional status, the strength of an individual or couple’s social network (friendship group), the characteristics of their current housing, the quality of the destination they have chosen for their planned relocation, and finally, the financial implications of relocating. Of these factors, functional status is the most important and financial status the least. And yes, children remain a primary motivator for the discussion about relocating.

The article may be viewed or downloaded for free here.

Caro, Francis G., Christine Yee, Samantha Levien, Alison S. Gottlieb, Joachim Winter, Daniel L. McFadden, and Teck H. Ho. 2012.  “Choosing Among Residential Options: Results of a Vignette Experiment.”  Research on Aging, 34(1): 3-33.

As a research article, this selection does include full discussion of the statistical method used to explore the research question. Those who are interested in just the information they present may find the most value by focusing upon the introductory portions and upon the discussion.
Application: Supporting the transition from home to a different residential care setting can be challenging for families, case managers and residential care staff. Understanding the elements of their decision can inform the way we talk with people who are contemplating this change and may help to mitigate stress from this transition. Also, understanding the importance of adult children in the conversation can help to ensure that the elder is prepared for the change and that they desire it for themselves and not simply to satisfy the wishes of well-meaning family members. For anyone who has aided this kind of transition, this article may serve as a reinforcement of what you have previously observed as opposed to new information, but the exploration of the different decision points being explored by elders may still support the processes and talking points many use when discussing potential relocations.