Background and Objectives
Researchers have increasingly considered the importance of age-friendly communities to improve the health and well-being of older adults. Studies have primarily focused on the built environment, such as community infrastructure, older adult behavior, and environmental expectations. Less is known about the role of cultural characteristics in shaping perceptions of age-friendly environments, especially among racial and ethnic minorities.
Research Design and Methods
Using an ethnographic methodological approach, including participant observation in a Latinx community near New York City and 72 semi-structured interviews, this study examines how older Latinxs characterize age-friendly communities.
Latinx older adults described their community as age-friendly by way of the concept Tranquilo Ambiente, translated as calm or peaceful environment. More specifically, TA includes: 1) a sense of perceived personal safety, 2) ethnic and social connectedness, and 3) spatial and cultural accessibility.
Discussion and Implications
This study extends prior research that has largely considered structural or economic components to show how culture may also influence the well-being of older Latinxs, even if living in an under-resourced area. The concept of Tranquilo Ambiente demonstrates that both structural and cultural environmental factors influence older Latinxs understandings of age-friendly communities. By utilizing a socio-cultural lens, this research highlights how Latinx older adults benefit from an environment that supports their physical (e.g., well-lit and newly paved streets), social (e.g., city hall senior center), and cultural (e.g., events and programs that promote cultural heritage) needs.