This exploratory study was conducted to determine whether fundamental differences in perceptions exist among elders, young and middle-aged adults, and nurses in their view of what factors constitute a safe independent living arrangement for elders. A convenience sample of 335 was surveyed on perceptions of the importance of situation factors (ie, ADL [activities of daily living] skills, instrumental activities, functional abilities, environmental factors) to independent living and the degree of interference of diseases and symptoms with elder independent living arrangements. The results reveal that there are fundamental differences in perceptions about factors related to safe independent living for elders among the groups. Nurses perceived that certain diseases and symptoms caused more interference with independent living, whereas nonnurses tended to be more concerned about bathing, climbing steps, and home and property maintenance. Age, level of education, gender, and race also were found to be significant predictors of the perceptions of situation factors related to independent living. More specific research is needed to determine whether these fundamental differences hold true when an actual elder living situation is at issue.
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