Staff Profiles

Kuo Feng

Social Connectedness: How commercial senior living facilities help enhance social well-being of older adults through social activities in China

The Oxford School of Hospitality Management

Oxford Brookes Business School

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Mode of StudyFull-Time
SupervisorsLevent Altinay, Jackie Clarke
Research AbstractLoneliness and social isolation are major social problems with health and economic implications globally. An extensive amount of literature has shed light on well-being from healthcare, psychological and sociological perspectives. However, it is not yet known how older adults’ societal issues can be tackled through the contribution of institutional hospitality services that provide social space and an experiential-oriented consumption opportunity. This research aims to investigate how the engagement of elderly customers in interactive social activities provided by commercial senior living facilities help older adults socially connect. In doing so, it will examine the role that such social activities and the social connections engendered play in enhancing older adults’ social well-being. It adopted a mixed methods approach (focus groups and questionnaires) with research conducted in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang, China. One preliminary focus group of eight older adults was conducted to familiarise the researcher with older adults’ social interactions, experiences of engaging in social activities, and the status of well-being to open up the study to help formulate the questionnaire. 274 older adults participated in the questionnaire survey. Factor analysis and multiple regression analysis will be applied based on previous studies. Subsequently, three focus groups will be conducted in order to further explore the key findings emerging from the questionnaire survey stage. This study will contribute to the well-being literature by building upon healthcare, psychological and sociological perspectives and investigating the role of hospitality industry play in the well-being of older adults. It is one of the few studies adopting a holistic approach and bringing different constructs together, namely, social interaction, customer experience, customer satisfaction, and social connectedness, in order to understand the social well-being of older adults. Moreover, this study will guide business practitioners to develop and implement strategies that focus on enhancing consumers’ social well-being through their interaction with the product or service.