Toward Understanding Everyday Lives of Older Adults: A Methodological Exploration

Background and Objectives

Emerging trends in aging in place and increasing needs for home health care highlight the importance of researching older adults’ daily lives as they unfold within their residential environments. However, studies that examine how older adults interact with their home environments are scarce as homes are fluid and private spaces and do not render themselves easily to the researcher’s eyes. This article explores a new investigational method combining 3D-scanning and biomarker tracking technology with in-depth qualitative interviews in situ to explore older adults’ daily interactions with their home environments.

Research Design and Methods

We employed a unique approach that combined spatial, locational, and physiological tracking technology with in-depth qualitative in-home interviews with older adults aged 62–89 who received home modifications as a means to successfully age in place. We explored multiple data sets both individually and collectively, using various data analysis, visualization, and integration methods to test the feasibility and utility of our approach.


A review of individual data sets allowed unique insights into different aspects of the daily lives of this sample of older adults. When combined, the data sets and subsequent analysis allowed an in-depth understanding of participants’ well-being and adaptive behaviors.

Discussion and Implications

This study provides a strong methodology for studying the home environment and its impact on the participants’ health and well-being. Insights obtained through this method can inform research, policy, and practice at all levels for professionals to continue exploring ways to support older adults aged 65 and older aging at home.

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