Parkhurst, G., Galvin, K., Musselwhite, C., Shergold, I. and Todres, L.
A continuum for understanding the mobility of older people.
45th Universities’ Transport Study Group conference, St Anne’s College, Oxford, UK, 2nd - 4th January, 2013.
Socially-progressive transport policies have traditionally focussed on identifying accessibility deficits and enhancing access to services defined as essential, notably related to physical health. Physiological and economic needs are important, but an over-emphasis on these motivations for mobility can under-represent the wider importance of being connected within society for a fulfilled, high-quality life. The present paper takes a holistic wellbeing approach to developing the concept of mobility as multifaceted, considering in particular the case of older people living in rural communities. Concepts of mobility are reviewed, beginning with the traditional approach of literal mobility, through the established media of virtual mobility, to encompass the psychological and phenomenological perspectives of potential and imaginative mobility, leading to the positing of a continuum from the physical to the ideational along which mobility can be perceived and experienced; each point offering consequent wellbeing benefits. The theoretical development is supported and exemplified by analyses of data drawn from a quantitative questionnaire survey (n=920) and from 45 semi-structured interviews and 10 phenomenological interviews. The paper concludes by considering the importance of the different mobilities through the later lifecourse, both for current and future cohorts, and draws out the significance of their being multiple modalities of mobility for social care and the built environment disciplines.
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