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Adjusting to the transition into assisted living

Opportunities for nurse practitioners

Scott, Judith M. PhD, RN (Assistant professor)1; Mayo, Ann M. RN, DNSc, FAAN (Professor)2

Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: October 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 10 - p 583–590
doi: 10.1097/JXX.0000000000000184
Research: Qualitative

Background and purpose: Transition from an independent living residence to assisted living (AL) is challenging. The study purpose was to understand such a transition from the perspective of older women.

Methods: A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to explore how 17 older women living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community, many of whom were recently widowed, experienced this transition.

Conclusions: Three major themes emerged from the interviews: preplanning, executing, and adjusting to the transition. Even with facility, family and staff assistance, the transition was challenging, and adjustment was affected when participants had physical or sensory impairments.

Implications for practice: Older adult women transitioning to AL settings should be assessed for adjustment to the new setting. Those with sensory, cognitive, emotional, or physical problems will need additional supportive strategies to help with adjustment. With a rapidly expanding population, AL settings offer new opportunities for nurse practitioners to promote the health and well-being of older adults.

1Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Science, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, Colorado

2Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, University of San Diego, San Diego, California

Correspondence: Judith H. Scott, Helen and Arthur E Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Science, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway Colorado Springs, CO 80918. Tel: (o)719-255-2455; E-mail:

Competing interests: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Authors' contributions: Both authors developed the research project; Judith M. Scott conducted the research, performed the initial data analysis, and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript; both authors performed final data analysis and final revisions of the manuscript.

Received August 27, 2018

Received in revised form December 04, 2018

Accepted December 05, 2018

© 2019 American Association of Nurse Practitioners
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