Independent Living in Later Life: a qualitative study

Funded by: Department for Work and Pensions


April 2003 to May 2004

PSI researchers:

Sandra Vegeris

Background, summary and aims

The research will examine independent living in later life, and its inter-relationship with pensioners’ service needs, the ways in which they access services, and individuals’ socio-demographic characteristics.  The Pension Service is currently piloting its Third Age Service in South West England, and the research will complement the findings of this and promote further refinement of the DWP’s model on Customer Segmentation for Today’s Pensioners.

This project will use an iterative qualitative case study approach, deepening knowledge of the boundaries between the groupings in the DWP’s customer segmentation model, while exploring the effect of local area factors, including service delivery models, upon pensioners’ experiences.   Three tranches of fieldwork conducted across five distinctive case study areas (some of which will be revisited in successive fieldwork phases) will provide the framework for 100 depth interviews with pensioners, examining the experiences of a range of customer segments.  This technique will provide enhanced refinement of the differences between pensioners in terms of their health status, social networks and income levels.

Successive tranches of fieldwork will explore the boundaries between segments of the customer segmentation model which emerge as particularly relevant in earlier tranches, focusing on specific types of service use and non-use.   Complementary topic guides will be used in the three phases of the research, and service use diaries and social network mapping will provide complex information on these aspects of pensioners’ experiences.   Additional interviews with key informants in each area will augment local knowledge of the case study areas and enhance the range of sampling strategies employed.  Analysis will follow a grounded theory approach and utilise NVivo, a software package for qualitative information.

Related publications / project outputs

Independent Living in Later Life: Qualitative research