Mobile Lives in a Neighbourhood – Physical Mobility, Life Stories and Ageing

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Satu HEIKKINEN, Karlstad university, Sweden
‘Ageing in place’ is a notion which captures the importance of ageing in familiar surroundings for older people. Place is often conceptualized as the local environment, e.g. the neighbourhood of living. However, in the modern mobile world, older people are highly mobile, virtually as well as physically. This means that the notion of place also has to include mobility and ‘ageing in place’ may have to transcend local boundaries. The aim of this paper is to discuss ‘ageing in place’ based on narratives of physical mobility, i.e. everyday mobility/transportation and residential mobility, among older people living in the same neighbourhood.

18 interviewees 65 years and older were asked to retell their lived mobility. All interviewees lived in the same neighbourhood, Ljura in Norrköping, Sweden. In this way all stories converged in time and space, in Ljura, at the time of the interviews. Some interviewees had grown up in Norrköping while others originated from the very north and south of Sweden, as well as from abroad. The experiences of and ties to Ljura differed clearly based on when the interviewees moved to Ljura as well as previous experiences of mobility in life. While living in Ljura, routinized everyday mobility was connecting the neighbourhood to other important places for the informants, e.g. a nearby forest, the city centre, allotments and places from the childhood. Multilocal living was also important where living in the neighbourhood was, depending on season, shared with living in the summer cottage or traveling for longer periods in a camper.

The life stories of mobility among older people living in the same neighbourhood illustrate heterogeneous ways of relating to the neighbourhood as well as the importance of mobility to link places of significance to each other. The paper discusses conceptualisations of ‘ageing-in-place’ in relation to these results.