Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Nursing

First Advisor

Elaine J. Amella

Second Advisor

Lynne S. Nemeth

Third Advisor

Barbara Edlund

Fourth Advisor

Virginia Burggraf


Purpose: This dissertation analyzed measurement of relocation transition in older adults, assessed research for the manner in which older adults make the decision to move, and the adult child's role in the transition of their aging parents. Design: Using Hawker, Payne, Kerr, Hardey, & Powell's (2002) mixed research review method, two integrative reviews were conducted. The first examined how relocation transition is measured in the literature while the second applied the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1985) to determine the behavioral beliefs, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control of older adults as they contemplate a relocation from independent living to supervised housing. Finally, qualitative semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted using questions framed by Symbolic Interaction Theory (Blumer, 1969). Conclusion: Measurement of relocation transition in older adults was defined by three distinct stages: Planning the Move, Physical Move, and Adaptation. Older adults whose behavioral beliefs about relocation were optimistic and hopeful and who participated in the relocation decision-making process experienced more positive transitions during relocation. Additionally, family members, especially adult children, provided the older adult with assistance and advice throughout the process. However, little is known about how the relocation transition experience impacts the adult child. Qualitative interviews with adult children revealed two themes: Changing Places and Everlasting Love. Clinical Relevance: Adult children often accompany their aging parent(s) to health care providers, acute and skilled nursing care facilities. Collaboration and communication with the adult child and older adult allows for patient-centered goal setting and dialogue about the living environment and safety of the aging parent(s). Health care providers' recognition of and respect for the adult child's role as caregiver not only fosters better communication and outcomes for the older adult but also may contribute to improved health and well being of the caregiver.


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