Disenfranchised tragedies: Living in LTC as an older adults who has experienced homelessness

October 28, 2023
Cormier, E., Serrano, D., Sussman, T., Bordeleau, M., Bourgeois-Guérin, V., Weldrick, R., & Canham, S.L. (2023, October). Disenfranchised tragedies: Living in LTC as older persons with experiences of homelessness [paper presentation]. Canadian Association on Gerontology 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting, Toronto, ON.


While the pandemic has sparked a heightened awareness of some of the challenges of living and dying in long-term care (LTC), little is known about the impact that less normative life trajectories can have on residents’ experiences. Yet, more marginal life experiences add to the already existing complexity of care provision in LTC. 

As part of a larger pan-Canadian project aimed at exploring the aging experiences of older homeless persons in different care/housing environments (Aging in the Right Place), our team conducted a series of photovoice interviews with 9 formerly homeless residents of a LTC home. 

Thematic analysis of their stories suggests that the tragedy discourse associated with residing in LTC can erase the particularities of individual life stories and overshadow other events that are considered more tragic for the person. More specifically, it appears that the concurrent experience of homelessness and substance use renders admission to LTC as one of a series of life traumas that must be understood in combination. Our findings suggest that residents’ precarious histories require recognition in order to support their re-affiliation rather than exacerbate their exclusion at this final stage of life.