Older Adults’ Perceptions of Campus Accessibility

Ashley E. Ermer, Nadine Verna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attention should be devoted to the accessibility of campus facilities to older adults and as a means to increase age-diversity. In this paper, we sought to uncover older adults’ perceptions of campus accessibility via an online survey. Participants were recruited through local newsletters, and word of mouth, and included 81 community members (M Age = 71.58 years; 79% female; 89% White). Descriptive analyses were conducted for closed-ended responses and a constant comparative method was used to code open-ended responses. Based on the closed-ended responses, participants felt that the campus was somewhat accessible, moderately easy to walk around, and felt somewhat welcome on campus. The following general themes emerged in the open-ended responses: 1) inaccessibility on campus was related to parking and topography constraints (e.g., due to stairs, distance, hills); 2) accessibility on campus was due to sidewalks and access to transportation; 3) feeling welcome on campus was related to people being helpful, and 4) not feeling welcome was related to not ‘being in the know’ and not feeling like they belonged. These findings have implications for campus initiatives that aim to attract older adults, especially for campuses that have topography constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-539
Number of pages12
JournalGerontology and Geriatrics Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023


  • Older adults
  • campus accessibility
  • campus inaccessibility
  • feeling welcome
  • walkability


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