A novel adaptation of the HOME inventory for elders: The importance of the home environment across the life course

Kathryn Hale, Truls Østbye, Bilesha Perera, Robert Bradley, Joanna Maselko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The context in which dependents, regardless of age, receive care affects their health. This study adapted the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) Inventory, originally designed for child development research, to assess the quality of stimulation and support available to elders in their habitual households in Sri Lanka. Whether the adapted domains correlated with indicators of health and well-being in ways consistent with the child development literature was then examined. Through mixed-methods research based on 248 household surveys, four focus groups, and 15 interviews, three domains emerged: Physical Environment, Variety of Stimulation, and Emotional and Verbal Responsiveness. Regression modeling revealed that a higher quality physical home environment correlated with two measures of cognitive function after adjusting for covariates, but no consistent association with two psychological well-being scales. In contrast, higher Variety of Stimulation scores correlated with better cognitive function and lower psychological distress. There was no consistent correlation between Responsiveness and selected health outcomes. Qualitative data indicate that elders are active household contributors who strive to achieve harmonious relations with coresident kin. These findings reveal notable synergies between early and late life efforts to improve cognitive and psychological health, and highlight household considerations for future healthy aging research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2826
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2 2019


  • Caregiving arrangements
  • Developmental life course
  • Elderly
  • Healthy aging
  • Home environment
  • Mental health
  • Mixed methods
  • Sri Lanka

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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