The “Village” model has become an emerging, community-based, social initiative to help older adults age in place. This study aims to examine neighborhood social cohesion (NSC), or social connectedness and quality of life, from the perspective of village members.
A mixed-method evaluation was used to examine two Florida villages, a master-planned village (FV1) and a diverse neighborhood village (FV2). Both are full members of the National Village to Village Network.
The quantitative and qualitative data provided complementary and deeper understanding. Quantitative findings showed that FV1 members scored higher at NSC, and qualitative findings further confirmed that village program social activities were critical to building connections, especially for those who have lost loved ones and were single.
Findings should be interpreted considering the predominantly white racial makeup and affluence of village participants.
Findings point to the importance of NSC as older adults age and suggest that programs should prioritize activities that strengthen social connectiveness.
This is one of the first mixed-methods evaluations examining NSC and quality of life among village participants.
This study is funded by the faculty PI’s research grant from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL. The author appreciates the strong support from the executive director Gloria Niec from the Celebration Foundation, Thriving-in-Place program manager May Pat Rosenthal and Annette Kelly, Chairperson, Board of Directors from the Neighbors Network for their help with data collection coordination. Special thanks to the PI’s student research team for assisting with the interviews and transcriptions. The author is in debt to all the study participants for their time and input on this study.
Hou, S.-I., Santis, E., Eskamani, A.V. and Holmes, K. (2022), "Mixed methods evaluation on village neighborhood social cohesiveness and quality of life", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 71-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/QAOA-05-2021-0044
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