Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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‘Somewhere old, somewhere new, somewhere green’: an exploration of health enabling places from the perspective of people ageing-in-place in Ireland during COVID-19

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-12, 16:08 authored by Viveka GuzmanViveka Guzman, Ronan Foley, Frank DoyleFrank Doyle, Maria PertlMaria Pertl
Drawing on conceptual and empirical work in geographies of ageing and environmental gerontology, this study's aim is to explore the generation and maintenance of enabling places from the perspective of older community dwellers in the context of COVID-19. Findings are drawn from a qualitative thematic analysis of written submissions (n = 17), narrative interviews (n = 44) and go-along interviews (n = 5) with people ageing-in-place in Irish communities during the pandemic. The mean age of participants was 74.9 (SD = 7; range 65–96), 53% were female, 46% lived alone, and 86% lived in areas with high urban influence. Our results indicate that the COVID-19 public health restrictions curtailed participants' usual activities and influenced how they related to their homes, and a variety of public spaces where they had previously pursued valued activities. Transitions in their everyday geographies led to a wide array of affective and embodied experiences, and participants described diverse material and social emplaced-resources as enabling or hindering their health and well-being during COVID-19. Our core findings are summarised across three themes: (1) somewhere old, relates to emplacement in familiar places and the role of familiarity with place resources; (2) somewhere new, comprises the emergence of digital spaces and possible pathways to build place insideness; and (3) somewhere green, describes the negotiation and (re)turn to natural and outdoor environments during the pandemic. Results from this study contribute to identify the pathways through which enabling places for diverse older people may be generated and/or maintained, and provide evidence to support the development of enabling environments during times of social upheaval and beyond.


Health Research Board, Grant/Award Number: SPHeRE- 2019- 1

Open access funding provided by IReL



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Guzman V, Foley R, Doyle F, Pertl M. ‘Somewhere old, somewhere new, somewhere green’: an exploration of health enabling places from the perspective of people ageing‐in‐place in Ireland during COVID‐19. Area. 2023;00,1–10.

Publication Date

11 August 2023


  • School of Population Health
  • Health Psychology

Research Area

  • Cancer
  • Population Health and Health Services




  • Published Version (Version of Record)