The urban environment and life satisfaction among the elderly in Winnipeg

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Lewis, Paula S.
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The Urban Environment and Life Satisfaction Among the Elderly of Winnipeg. Theories of the environment and the elderly are explored resulting in the development of the Interactive Ecological Theory of the Environment and the Elderly. The basic premise of this theory is that the elderly person is a focal system trying to maintain him/herself in a stratified environment. As the focal system becomes increasingly old, personal resources dwindle and it is forced to rely more heavily on the environment for fulfillment of its needs. Secondary analysis of data is used to test this theory and model. Life satisfaction is the dependent variable. Personal resources and characteristics of the focal system, and environmental services are the independent variables. The results indicate that health and income are the most important personal resources to the elderly. The most important environmental features are those which aid in fulfilling needs associated with health and income such as community health clinics, dentists and lawyers. Further tests on the importance of the environment to the focal system showed that when individuals moved residential location in hopes of finding an improved neighbourhood, those who found it had higher life satisfaction than those who found no change or worse. The findings of this research support the Interactive Ecological Theory of the Environment and the Elderly. Further, the findings indicate the importance of health and income in old age, as well as the importance of a supportive neighbourhood/community environment for the elderly.