The last resort? Revisiting ideas about older people's living arrangements

C Oldman, D Quilgars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article starts with a critique of the literature relating to the living at home/living in a home contrast. It shows this body of work to be dominated by a structured dependency paradigm which depicts residential care as exemplar of institution and home as embodying personal control and self-identity. A modification of the paradigm which gives prominence to diversity and meaning is used to analyse in-depth interviews with frail older people living at home and in a home. The analysis suggests that the prevailing account of residential care needs updating and some revision. The article concludes that the marketisation of social care has had both positive and negative effects on both care delivery in a home and at home. It also contends that there is a limited demand from older people for collective living arrangements and that institutionalisation processes affect older people in whatever setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-384
Number of pages22
JournalAgeing and Society
Publication statusPublished - May 1999


  • institution/home dichotomy
  • residential care
  • home care
  • marketisation
  • theories of old age
  • HOME

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