International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 589–595 | Cite as

The importance of successful place integration for perceived health in very old age: a qualitative meta-synthesis

  • Maria Haak
  • Agneta Malmgren Fänge
  • Susanne Iwarsson
  • Synneve Dahlin-Ivanoff
Original Article



The aim of this study was to increase our understanding of the multifaceted phenomenon of home and health, by exploring processes underlying these dynamics when living at home in very old age.


A qualitative meta-synthesis was used on four complementary qualitative studies, based on data from the Swedish ENABLE-AGE In-depth Study, focusing on very old, single-living people’s experiences of home in relation to participation, independence and health (N = 40).


Over time, very old people manage increased frailty by means of three intertwined processes concerning changes in everyday life: The turning points, The struggle and The negotiations. The findings show that these processes take place through the context of the Homelike functional home and a state of mind labelled, The awareness of frailty.


The results can be useful in constructing and implementing guidelines for more holistic approaches to housing provision for senior citizens. Further, the study delivers a deeper understanding about how very old people live their lives, useful for practitioners as well as it contributes to theory development within the context of ageing and environments.


Home ENABLE-AGE Environmental gerontology Everyday life Meaningful activity Occupational therapy 



This study was funded by the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research and was accomplished within the context of the Centre for Ageing and Supportive Environments (CASE), Lund University, Sweden.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Haak
    • 1
  • Agneta Malmgren Fänge
    • 1
  • Susanne Iwarsson
    • 1
  • Synneve Dahlin-Ivanoff
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Institute of Neuroscience and PhysiologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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