Selective optimization with compensation strategies utilized by older adults newly-transitioned to assisted living

Natalie G. Regier, Patricia A. Parmelee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Admission to assisted living (AL) is on the rise in the United States, and adjustment to this new environment can be challenging for older adults. To date, few studies have explored the ways in which older adults may be able to ease the transition to AL by minimizing relocation-related losses. Consequently, we explored the potential for the components of the framework Selective Optimization with Compensation (SOC) to facilitate successful adjustment to AL. Method: Ninety-one recently-relocated residents of eight assisted living facilities in Alabama and Maryland were interviewed about their transition and adjustment to AL. Using the SOC framework as an analytical lens, directed content analysis identified emergent themes. Results: Fifty-six participants were identified as using SOC-based strategies. Five major themes emerged: Relationships with Others, Health and Wellness, Normalcy, Entertainment, and Growth and Meaning. The theme of Health and Wellness was reported by nearly half of SOC users. Fifty-five percent reported at least one instance of elective selection, 51.8% reported loss-based selection, 48.2% reported optimization, and 41.1% reported compensation. Conclusion: These findings offer insight into strategies that may facilitate successful adaptation to AL and other long-term care settings. This represents an important first step in identifying ways older adults might cope with the different forms of loss and role adjustment that accompany the move from a private residence to assisted living.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1877-1886
Number of pages10
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2021


  • Assisted living
  • adjustment
  • coping
  • goals
  • selective optimization with compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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