Mobility, mood and place: Mobility choices in older adults and emotional responses to place

Sara Tilley, Neil Thin, Catharine Ward Thompson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract / Description of output

Mobility is beneficial to older people as it enables independent living, links practices that are within and outside the home and brings psychological benefits. Therefore, everyday mobility choices play crucial roles in the wellbeing of older people, as well as in lifelong health and wellbeing trajectories.

Much research has considered the causes of a loss of mobility and the barriers in outdoor environments which can impede mobility for older people. However, to support and encourage optimal mobility in the older population we also need to understand the positive qualities that encourage older people to go out, remain active and bring pleasure into very old age.

The research reported here is part of a wider study exploring older people's response to place. Walking interviews were completed with older people, to identify how mobility choices amongst older adults are influenced by interactions between moods/emotions and local built environments. Key themes that emerged included: the importance of memories and familiarity and the value of social contact.

Memory and familiarity were found to be particularly important in mobility decisions and behaviours. Mobility might therefore be supported, not only by helping people to remain in their home and neighbourhood for longer but also by ensuring that the built environment is managed so that familiarity is maintained, even when areas undergo redevelopment or renewal. By understanding the emotional responses to place and the qualities of these places that enable older people to be active, design modifications can be promoted that benefit healthier living in older age.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
EventAssociation of American Geographers Annual Meeting - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 29 Mar 20162 Apr 2016


ConferenceAssociation of American Geographers Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


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