Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Over 75% of adults 60 years of age or older who live in Washington, D.C. are unaware of access to Aging and Disability Resource Centers' (ADRC) community-based services. Approximately 25% of these individuals are low-income and reside in multifamily subsidized housing. With a theoretical basis in Penchansky and Thomas' construct of access, this phenomenological study explored whether increased awareness of access to ADRC service delivery may potentially better meet the needs of this socioeconomically marginalized population. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 20 senior citizens in Washington, D.C. who received some programmatic assistance, such as housing or meal delivery, but not necessarily through an ADRC. Interview data were inductively coded and analyzed using Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis method. Findings indicate that while there is an apparent need for community-based services, many participants who were not aware of ARDC services wanted more information about how to access the service delivery system to age in place, avoid burdening children, retain housing vouchers, and prevent nursing home placement. In contrast, seniors who accessed ADRC, based on the construct of access, found services acceptable, accessible, affordable, available, accommodating, and helpful in allowing them to remain independent and at home. The results of this study contribute to positive social change by recommending that program administrators focus on outreach to the program's target population, thereby improving access to resources so they can be self-reliant and prolong residential longevity for aging-in-place demands.