Defining Aging in Place: The Intersectionality of Space, Person, and Time

Wendy A. Rogers, Widya A. Ramadhani, Maurita T. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging in place (AIP) is a term that is commonly used and defined in a plethora of ways. Multiple disciplines take a different stance on the definition of AIP, and its definition has evolved over time. Such diverse ways to define AIP could be a barrier to reach a shared expectation among multiple stakeholders when formulating research studies, making policy decisions, developing care plans, or designing technology tools to support older adults. We conducted a scoping review for the term AIP to understand specifically how it has been defined across time and disciplines. We collected exemplary definitions of AIP from 7 databases that represent different fields of study; namely, AgeLine, Anthropology Plus, Art and Architecture Source, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubMed, and SocINDEX. We conducted a thematic analysis to identify the common concepts that emerged across the definitions identified in the scoping review. We developed 3 main categories from the themes: space, person, and time to illustrate the root of meaning across the definitions. Intersectionality across the categories yielded a comprehensive understanding of AIP, which does not constrain its definition to a place-related phenomenon. We propose that AIP be defined as "One's journey to maintain independence in one's place of residence as well as to participate in one's community."With this shared understanding of the term AIP, policymakers, researchers, technology designers, and caregivers can better support those who aim to age in the place of their choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Design
  • Environment
  • Older adults
  • Public policy
  • Residences
  • Scoping review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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