Senior Citizens' Adaptive Strategies to Get Around in Their Communities: A Case Study of Yao City, Japan
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This study investigated the relationship between seniors' travel behaviors and living environments and the ways they successfully adapt to the environments, using a sequential mixed method in which qualitative methods follow quantitative analyses. The data were collected from the members of social clubs who regularly visit a community center for the elderly in a mid-size city in Osaka prefecture, Japan. One hundred ninety three seniors participated in the questionnaire survey asking about their daily travel patterns, personal backgrounds, social relations, and environmental information. Twenty-one seniors shared their perceptions of the city and the ways in which they get around through face-to-face interviews, sketch mapping, and one-week travel diary. The findings highlighted cultural and gender influences on seniors' mobility and the proactive nature of their travel behaviors. The participants were relatively healthy and active seniors who travel primarily by bicycle. The statistical analyses indicated that gender did not determine overall or average travel frequency but did identify factors related to high travel frequency. Living near a bus stop and the perception of going out more often than in the past predicted men's high travel frequency (going out every day), while women's high travel frequency was predicted by travel modes (bicycling and walking), sidewalk safety, chores (grocery shopping), and social network (seeing friends and having fewer relatives). Furthermore, the results of qualitative analyses revealed that seniors invented, modified, and applied various adaptive strategies to maintain or enhance their mobility. The positive perceptions of their communities such as favorable memories and beautiful scenery fostered seniors' familiarity and sense of belonging. Seniors used and modified social and environment resources to ensure travel safety. In addition, changes in senior's life stages and travel means manifested gender differences in their adaptive strategies. Men tended to focus on maintaining good health to keep their driver's license, representing their social role as a provider, while women's adaptations related to adjustment to widowhood and travel safety.
Yoshikawa, Aya (2011). Senior Citizens' Adaptive Strategies to Get Around in Their Communities: A Case Study of Yao City, Japan. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from