Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under embargo

The third age interrupted: Experiences of living in a retirement village during the first year of COVID-19 in Victoria, Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-08, 04:21 authored by AS Gilbert, SM Garratt, J Ostaszkiewicz, F Batchelor, B Brijnath, C Dang, B Dow, AMY Goh
Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic in Australia has profoundly affected older adults, particularly in the state of Victoria, which experienced strict lockdown restrictions six times since the pandemic began in 2020; totalling 245 days over three years. This study explored the experiences of older adults living in retirement villages during the first three lockdowns in Victoria from March 2020 to February 2021. We draw on the concept of the ‘third age’ to explore how residents’ post-retirement social and lifestyle aspirations were disrupted by the pandemic and associated lockdowns. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 14 residents during January and February 2021. All data were analysed using thematic mapping. Five key themes were identified: (1) benefits and frustrations of retirement village living during a pandemic; (2) the loss of amenities and activities; (3) heightened loneliness and social isolation; (4) reaching out to others; and (5) variable experiences of operators’ response. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted short-term and long-term issues around social isolation and the management of retirement villages, it has also demonstrated the resilience of residents and the strength of community ties and relationships. Retirement villages are promoted as age-friendly environments that enable an active and healthy post-retirement lifestyle. Yet our findings reveal heterogeneity within village populations. When services closed during lockdowns, this revealed a tension between the policy assumption that retirement villages are a housing consumption choice, and the unmet needs of those residents who depend on village services for day-to-day functioning.

History

Journal

Ageing and Society

Pagination

1-21

Location

Cambridge, Eng.

ISSN

0144-686X

eISSN

1469-1779

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Usage metrics

    Research Publications

    Exports

    RefWorks
    BibTeX
    Ref. manager
    Endnote
    DataCite
    NLM
    DC