Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Social Welfare

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 140 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Lynn Videka

Committee Members

Philip McCallion, Jennifer Manganello


aging, elderly, framing, long term care, longitudinal, mixed methods, Older people, Older people in mass media, Mass media and older people, Mass media, Frames (Sociology)

Subject Categories

Gerontology | Mass Communication | Social Work


In response to the growing population of older adults who will need assistance to care for themselves, this research evaluates media coverage of care options for older adults presented in local newspapers, an informational resource used by baby boomers and older generations interested in planning for their futures and caring for their loved ones. Computer databases for four newspapers representing the Capital Region of New York State were scanned for keywords to identify articles about older adult care, then articles were reviewed to ensure they were relevant to older adult care. A quantitative content analysis was performed on the articles using an instrument that measured their quality, objectivity, and tone. The instrument further screened the articles to ensure older adult care was a focus of each (N = 284). Results indicate that media presents older adult care topics with quality information, but the objectivity and tone of articles varies by topic. Articles about healthcare costs, the social experiences of older adults, and community living arrangements are typically reported using many different sources for information, leading to high objectivity, while articles about healthcare systems, at risk elders, and institutional living arrangements are typically reported with significantly fewer sources of information, leading to low objectivity. Many articles leave the reader without any strong impression about older adult care, but many have a negative tone, leaving the reader with a bad impression of care, especially articles about nursing homes and at risk elders. This study found more negative tone articles than previous research, which may indicate a rising concern about older adult care among baby boomers and their aging loved ones. Further, the majority of articles were about institutional living arrangements, particularly nursing homes. However, this is not representative of the experiences and desires of most older adults, who live in a community setting, but may indicate that society is expectant of entering a nursing home in older adulthood. Local newspapers could improve their service to readers by presenting more articles about community living arrangements for older adults, and elder care services available for older adults and their caregivers in the community.