Exploring the meaning of home for six baby boomers.

Authors: Board, M.


Baby boomers (those born c. 1945 to c. 1965) are entering later life. As a result, by 2035, almost a quarter of the UK population will be over 65. Current policy and practice in the UK is that people should, wherever possible, age at home, but there is no research into what home means to baby boomers. Therefore, this researcher asks two questions. Firstly, how can the meaning of home for baby boomers be explored? Secondly, what influence does the life course have on the meaning of home for six baby boomers? Existing literature informed the research. For example, some literature suggests methodology for researching issues similar to the meaning of home; other research explores meanings of home amongst groups other than baby boomers; and research into the life course of baby boomers has attributed to them characteristics which could influence their meaning of home. As a result, this researcher adopts a qualitative methodology which participant generated images, photo elicitation interviews and reflective review panels. This enabled the meaning of home for six participants to emerge from stories and photographs of their own homes and their individual life course. The six stories are published as a separate volume. Although based on only six baby boomers, the research suggests important conclusions. The first research question produced unique methodology for revealing deep layers of understanding of the meaning of home for these baby boomers. The second research question showed that, despite what one might expect from reading other research, the unique life course of six baby boomers has not created a meaning of home which is markedly different from earlier cohorts. However, what is acknowledge is that choice which is a key concept for the meaning of home, is influenced by the broader social context of demographic changes and changes in living arrangements. Further investigation of the meaning of home for baby boomers is necessary to help influence policy and practice; this research proposes important ideas about the methodology for that work, also suggestions for further research based on the findings from this study.

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