Date of Conferral





Public Health


Jennifer Oliphant


Research suggests that alcohol abuse is among the 8 primary causes of death for mature adults, which includes individuals age 65 and older. Alcohol use is a growing, unaddressed, public health concern among this referent population. Additionally, as mature adults enter the retirement phase of their lives, many of them transition to residing in assisted living communities. The purpose of this study was to explore mature adults’ alcohol use in assisted living communities and how such use, as perceived by the familial caregivers, affected the mature adults’ ability to age successfully. The population under study consisted of 8 familial caregivers, all women, 18 years and over who were the child or relative of a mature adult currently living in an assisted living community in the United States. The Life Course Health Development model provided the framework for this study. This model uncovered the emotional, physical, and social experiences related to alcohol consumption, that occurred before and after the mature adult moved into the assisted living community. Data were collected via semi-structured, face-to-face, and telephone interviews with the participants, and hand-coding was used to generate themes. Findings indicated that the familial caregivers agreed that the alcohol use of the mature adults residing in the assisted living community affected their overall health and social interactions among their peers. The implications for social change include arguing for specific public health policies that would ensure that assisted living communities can appropriately handle the life transitions of mature adults, which includes monitoring alcohol consumption patterns within the assisted living community, which could potentially improve the lives and the life expectancy of their mature adult residents.