The geography of mobility and aging in community: a case study in Orcas Island, Washington

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel Rupe (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Selima Sultana

Abstract: The aging population is increasing across the U.S.A., especially on Orcas Island, Washington, where many choose to retire for its unique amenities. While independent travel mobility is an important issue for aging Americans since most drive and must eventually cease driving, those aging on Orcas Island face a unique challenge due to geographic isolation in a rural environment and lack of sufficient transportation. This study explores the role that mobility holds for aging adults on Orcas Island in order to understand any conflicting needs and expectations of those who are no longer able to drive, or who anticipate this scenario in the future. A sample of 62 adults who responded to a survey of 200 questionnaires made available at local organizations answered questions involving their lifestyles and future preferences in light of any reduced mobility, in order to determine how reduced mobility may affect their quality of life. The most popular reason respondents migrated to Orcas Island is for physical geography, e.g. its natural environment, scenic landscape and tranquility. The large majority of the sample would like to remain in their homes, or age in place, and a slight majority also indicated that they would be happier living somewhere with greater independent travel ability. The most common way respondents would address reduced mobility is by home healthcare, followed by new transportation services. The results indicate that the unique qualities of the island and sense of place help to compensate for some of the reduction in quality of life caused by reduced mobility.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Aging in community, Aging population, Driving cessation, Mobility, Quality of life, Sense of place
Older people $x Transportation $z Washington (State) $z Orcas Island
Older people $z Washington (State) $z Orcas Island $x Attitudes
Older automobile drivers $z Washington (State) $z Orcas Island $x Attitudes
Older people $x Orientation and mobility $z Washington (State) $z Orcas Island

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