Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Badger

Second Advisor

Dr. David Royse


Aging-friendliness work uses a model of eight core domains to assess and achieve communities in which people are more equipped to age well, and remain in their community as they age. These domains are broken into the built environment (i.e., Housing, Transportation) and the social environment (i.e., Communication, Social Inclusion, Employment). This dissertation is centered on the efforts to make communities more aging-friendly, and focuses specifically on the Livable Lexington initiative. This dissertation utilized an exploratory study of a pre- and posttest evaluative design to pilot intergenerational discussion groups as a potential intervention. Intergenerational discussion groups were developed with the goal of changing community members’ perceptions of how aging-friendly their community is, and were a way of operationalizing Rawlsian concepts such as the Veil of Ignorance and Wide Reflective Equilibrium, with the end goal of Intergenerational Equity. The three outcome variables in the study were perceptions of 1) ability to age in place, with regard to domains, 2) overall aging-friendliness, and 3) ability to engage and participate in community activities (such as decision making). Recruited from an initial aging-friendly needs assessment developed by AARP, the intergenerational discussion groups (n = 40) exposed participants to an environment that allowed them to lead discussion around what would make their assigned core domains (i.e, housing, transportation, social inclusion, communication, employment, etc.) more aging-friendly. Participants in the discussion groups perceived a greater ability to age in place, with respect to the social environment (p < .001), as well as a greater ability to engage and participate in community activities (p < .001). Additionally, participants perceived their community as more aging-friendly after the intervention (p < .001). The participants, however, did not perceive a greater ability to age in place, with regard to the built environment (p < .001). Throughout the discussion, the results are tied back into the literature and theory, and reasons for the adverse result in the built environment are also discussed (while more time is often necessary to notice changes in the built environment). Implications for this research, as well as future recommendations are discussed, as well.

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