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Through the service providers’ eyes: A first glance on practices aiming to support aging in the right place for older adults experiencing homelessness in Montréal
Cormier, E., Brais, H., Serrano, D., Sussman, T., & Bourgeois-Guerin, V. (2021). Through the service providers’ eyes: A first glance on practices aiming to support aging in the right place for older adults experiencing homelessness in Montréal. [paper presentation]. Canadian Association on Gerontology 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting. Virtual.
It is increasingly recognized that older people who are homeless have unique life trajectories, goals and vulnerabilities that must be accounted for in service provision. Tailored services for older persons who have experienced homelessness (OPEH) are therefore paramount. As a component of a larger study aimed at identifying the extent to which promising housing practices designed for OPEH support Aging in the Right place, this study reports findings from service providers (n=5) affiliated with one innovative transitional housing program in Montreal. Using qualitative in-depth interviews, the study explored how the organization’s history, eligibility criteria, funding sources and physical environment work together to support or challenge Aging in the Right place for OPEH from the perspective of service providers. Thematic analysis of the interviews revealed that personalized approaches tend to strengthen the OPEH’s ability to remain in place, by facilitating access to resources within and beyond the practice, enhancing OPEH’s emotional place attachment, and fostering social participation and inclusion. Findings also indicated that the type of service provided may be better suited to OPEH who still have a high degree of autonomy as the support provided was limited in cases of physical or mental health decline. These limitations hint at the challenges and issues posed by the transitional aspect of a service offered to OPEH in response to their need and desire for stability in the turbulence that aging can bring forth.