Older women as occupational beings: exploring the meanings of occupations within the home environment for older women living alone

Wells, Gemma (2017) Older women as occupational beings: exploring the meanings of occupations within the home environment for older women living alone. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

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There is a discrepancy between the life expectancy of men and women of approximately two and a half years (Taylor Nelson Sofres 2014). This suggests that women are likely to spend a period of time in the latter years of their life living alone. It is anticipated that this will lead to a unique experience of later life for women, which to date has received little attention.

This study is concerned with exploring the experience of living alone for 11 women aged 70-80 years from the South East of England. A particular emphasis is placed upon the experience of being an older woman, the activities that they engage in when they are at home alone, and the environment of home as a place for occupational engagement.

Influenced by interpretive phenomenology and feminist principles, this study focuses on capturing the lived experiences of the 11 women in their own images and words. To achieve this, the methods of unstructured interviews and photo-elicitation are used.

The women in this study describe a predominantly positive experience of living alone in later life. They value being busy, engage in a range of meaningful activities, and maintain their independence in everyday life. They provide compelling evidence that later life is a time for self-growth and development. This appears to link to the decline in the gender related roles and occupations which are expected of them in later life.

This indicates that it is essential to provide bespoke support to older women that focuses on prevention of future decline but in a way that values their ongoing abilities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R0690 Medicine as a profession. Physicians > R0697 Allied health professionals
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Wellbeing > School of Allied Health Professions
Depositing User: Miss Rosemary Cox
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 10:20
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2018 13:51
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/16841

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00