Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Studies Program

First Advisor

Durrenda N. Onolemhemhen


As huge numbers of baby boomers reach old age, an increased need for nursing home care in the future is inevitable. Older people face more complex health issues that often lead to debilitation or disability and thus the need for long-term care. The numbers of consumers needing long-term care services will more than triple during the next 30 years.

African Americans compose less than 10% of nursing home residents and even at age 84 and older, when the likelihood of nursing home placement is higher, proportionately fewer African Americans live in nursing homes. The underrepresentation of ethnic minorities groups in nursing homes appears to reflect cultural differences in the willingness to institutionalize older persons, greater availability of family supports, or institutionalized discrimination implicit in admission policies against older adults of color.

Using a phenomenological approach, this study examines the lived experiences of African American residents in urban area nursing homes. The information gained by interviewing older, African American adults and allowing them to give an oral history of life events leading to living in a nursing home would possibly add to the knowledge base of gerontological studies and services of nursing homes which will provide a richer, thicker insight regarding the older adult lived experiences. Hence, providing a realistic service base that more closely meets the needs of African Americans in a nursing home setting.