In the UK, as in many other European countries, the population is growing older, and older adults are becoming more diverse. As a result, there is a mounting interest in supporting healthy ageing and independence, acknowledging the needs and agency of older adults from diverse backgrounds, expectations, and life trajectories. Healthy ageing is promoted as a critical component of sustainable ageing to ensure meaningful social and economic contributions through the life course for all individuals. However, the definitions of healthy ageing are debatable. The public and policy discourse treat all older adults through generic and homogeneous models that do not consider the heterogeneity of experiences and perspectives of old age among different groups. In this context, independence has often been defined in terms of functional independence, i.e., cognitive and physical functioning, as a core construct of healthy ageing. However, this focus excludes older adults’ interpretations and day-to-day experiences of this concept. This article investigates the interpretation and lived experience of independence amongst older Turkish adults in the UK as a central explanatory concept of healthy ageing. Semi-structured individual interviews (n = 48) and community mapping workshops (n = 5) were conducted with 65 older Turkish adults in London, supplemented by interviews with professional service providers (n = 13) within the community. The data collection was conducted between March and November 2017. We identified three main themes integral to understanding healthy ageing and independence: 1—interdependency and having reciprocal care relations; 2—individual autonomy at home and choice in housing options; and 3—functional independence, mobility, and control over the physical environment. Independence appears to remain an essential element of healthy ageing. However, it is a fluid and complex construct constantly negotiated around personal and community resources. Therefore, there is a need to develop more comprehensive interventions that capture the diverse experiences in old age to enable healthy ageing and social sustainability. These are timely considering current policy directions such as the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
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