Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Gerontology Institute

First Advisor

Mary Ball - Chair

Second Advisor

Candace Kemp

Third Advisor

Nancy Kropf


This study examined death and dying in assisted living (AL) and the various factors that influence these processes. The study is set in a 60-bed assisted living facility outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Data collection methods included participant observation and in-depth interviews with 28 residents and 6 staff. Data were analyzed using the grounded theory approach and focused on the 18 residents who were dying and/or died during the study period. Findings show that AL residents experience a variety of dying trajectories that vary in duration and shape; for the majority of residents, hospice is an important element in their death and dying experiences. In general, death is not communicated or acknowledged formally within the facility. Responses to deaths depend largely on the nature of the relationship the deceased resident had with others. Findings have implications for how to handle death and dying in AL and to improve residents‟ experiences.


Included in

Sociology Commons