Friday, 9 December 2011
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Key points from the report include:
- The views of older people with high support needs have rarely been sought. Reasons for this include their invisibility, communication issues and the lack of a collective voice.
- Participants in the study wanted and valued different things in their lives, but all expressed common human needs for social, psychological and physical well-being.
- People valued their close emotional relationships, though some expressed concerns about 'imposing' on family and friends. Many had made new friends as a result of their increasing support needs.
- Having control over their lives was important but meant different things to different people. Adjusting well to change was also central to psychological well-being, and this might require support.
- Participants valued getting out and about, keeping mentally and physically active and having contact with nature.
- Care, support and other people's time were key factors that enabled or prevented people doing things that mattered to them.
- Participants faced various challenges and difficulties, some a result of illness, disability and ageing but many because of lack of access to information, money, technology, equipment and transport.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
For the next 7 days, you can listen to the clip here. The programme discusses home care at various points but Sheila appears from around 46 minutes in until the end.
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Several CABS members are in Maastricht this week, taking part in the 7th International Symposium on Cultural Gerontology which is also the inaugural conference of the European Network in Ageing Studies. The title of the conference is Theorizing Age: Challenging the Disciplines and you can see the conferenc programme and all the abstracts here.
It's a conference that many CABS members have a soft spot for. We even went so far as to host it ourselves back in 2005. CABS has a symposium later this afternoon 'Critical reflections on biography and biographical methods' as well as CABS members having presented in other streams (because so many of us wanted to come that we couldn't all fit in one panel).
I've been periodically taking notes throughout, but there have been far too many interesting things to write them all up here (although there is more over on my personal blog, rememberingmyhat, if you are interested). What follows is some notes from just a few of the sessions that I thought might be of general interest.
[Debbie Laliberte Rudman, The University of Western Ontario, Canada]
... ‘positive aging’ discourses [can be] conceptualized as technologies of government. Such discourses enlist aging citizens in a duty to age well through shaping and idealizing possibilities for identity and activity. This [...] raises concerns regarding ways ‘positive aging’ discourses create demands for ‘aging well’ which are differentially achievable and narrowly defined.
[Thibauld Moulaert, K.U. Leuven, Belgium]
...International discourses of AA have slowly moved from a general framework supporting many dimensions of ageing toward a concentration of the active side, thanks to the confusing notion of "activity". Would it be possible that this trend consequently neglects some major aspects of ageing like its diversity and inequality? [yes!]
I also went to a paper about cultural representations of the ageing of Lemmy from Motorhead. It was by Magnus Nilsson from Karlstad University, Sweden. I won't try to cover everything he said, just pick out some bits I was particularly interested in. Lemmy (or rather, Lemmy in his fans' imaginations) is the antithesis of healthy ageing. He's still drinking and taking drugs and having as wild a life as ever. In the famous song Ace of Spades he has apparently changed a clause so he now sings 'I don't wanna live forever ... but apparently I am'. His fans view him as indestructible, telling a joke that only two things will survive a nuclear holocaust, cockroaches and Lemmy.
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Friday, 30 September 2011
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
"We would like to build links with interested individuals and groups as well as encourage debate around the issues of ageing, dementia, self-image and appearance".
A link to the project website can be found on this page - go to Other Bloggers We Like
Friday, 22 July 2011
In this book Julia, Sheena and Randal revisit Peter Townsend's classic study of residential care in
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
The day was constructed to critically explore a range of ways in which older people had engaged with research. Julia Johnson started the day by reflecting on her experiences of working with volunteer researchers as part of her work with Sheena Rolph and Randall Smith in which they revisited Peter Townsend's study of residential care for older people. http://www.open.ac.uk/hsc/research/research-projects/the-last-refuge-revisited/the-last-refuge-revisited.php
Bill Bytheway then drew on his experiences of working with older people's groups as part of the RoAD project which investigated how age discrimination is experienced by older people. http://www.open.ac.uk/hsc/research/research-projects/road/home.php
In the afternoon I (Josie Tetley) gave a presentation along Stephanie Warren and Joan Walker from from Age UK Milton Keynes. In our presentation we described how members of Age UK had participated in a European technology project OPT-in. Our presentation can be accessed via the OPT-in project wiki website http://mcl.open.ac.uk/OptIn
The day concluded with a presentation from Jackie and Tony Watts who described the work of Enfield Borough Older People's forum and their European Over 50s project that is campaigning for a higher level of service for older people across Europe. http://www.enfieldover50sforum.org.uk/
Throughout the day there was lively questioning and discussion amongst participants. It was our first event at The Open University Camden office and whilst there were a few technical issues, the central London location was seen as a positive location for future seminars.
Monday, 11 April 2011
Age Scotland - article
The Independent - article
A few years ago, CABS member Bill Bytheway wrote an article about the impact on New Orleans of Hurricane Katrina, the subsequent flooding caused by breaching of the levees, and events during and after evacuation Bill Bytheway on Katrina evacuations. He pointed out that while the victims had often been portrayed as mainly poor and black, in fact age and physical ability were the key issues in survival, and the highest rates of death were among older people in hospital and nursing homes.
Japan has the highest percentage of older people in the world, reflecting a population that has been ageing faster than other developed countries. Over 23% of the population were already over 65 in 2009 (compared with 16% in the UK) - and this is projected to increase to almost 40% by 2050. While most older Japanese people live with someone else (child, spouse, etc) 23% now live alone - and women, especially very old women, are much more likely to live alone than men (ILC Japan data).
Hence Japan takes ageing very seriously as a social reality, just as it takes seriously the seismic reality of its location. While Tohoko 2011 was quite exceptional, I hope that the famous Japanese preparedness for earthquakes and tsunamis will increasingly lead the way on evacuation protocols that work better for older people. It seems to me that the discussion about interdependence posted below by Jill Reynolds is highly relevant here. When taken-for-granted support structures fail, the limitations of 'independence' are all too obvious.
Friday, 11 March 2011
The idea of interdependence certainly has some resonance for me following some interviews I've held with women in a transitional phase of entering retirement. My focus in on the experience of ageing for people without children, and many of the participants in my study are also without current partners. Women who had moved to a new area talked about how they went about making new contacts through pursuing interests such as singing or country walks. One remarked on how during her recent period of illness neighbours had helped out and how she tended to do the same for them 'I realise however independent I am ... we all depend on one another and any of us could be in need of some help at any time'.
I’m wondering what the boundaries are between independence and interdependence. Are they opposites or can one thing shade into the other? Women on their own are often thought of as quite independent. In research on older people, never-married women have been found to have the highest levels of organisational membership (Arber 2004). While being prepared to join could show independence there’s also a strong sign of interdependence there surely? The same category of women also have the highest proportions in residential care (Wenger et al.2000). And while that suggests some dependence – the decision to seek care and support can also signal independence – like Diana Athill opting in a rational way for a life ‘free of worries’.
Perhaps it would be good to independently arrive at a degree of interdependence?
Wednesday, 2 March 2011
We were delighted to hear recently that one of CABS' associate members, Dr Richard Ward, now at the University of Manchester, was successful in getting funding from the ESRC for his research about the role of hairdressing in the lives of older people with high support needs. He says:
"The purpose of this research is to explore the role that hairdressing plays in the lives of older people who are high-level users of health and social care. This will include investigating the formal/paid services provided by hairdressers, as well as the styling and management of hair undertaken by care workers. The research will take account of how image and appearance is managed and maintained by older service users, the importance attached to hairstyles in care settings and explore the links between how we look and how we feel.
Existing research has shown that hair is important to our self-image and that hairdressing is associated with improvements to self-esteem, especially for women and that this increases with age. As hairdressing has not been viewed as a crucial feature of health and social care provision it has tended to be overlooked by research. This means little is known about good practice or what potential it has to support positive outcomes for older service users in respect to promoting a positive self-image in the context of deteriorating health and limiting long-term and mental health conditions such as dementia.
The importance of the research is that it will provide evidence and insights to support an on-going debate over how to balance the needs of service users with pressures of time and funding in the organisation of care. It will also help to better understand the importance of the 'body-work' undertaken by care workers and how this work can support positive relationships in care and help to avoid decline, depression and neglect. The research will also have direct benefits to the hairdressing industry as little is currently known about the experiences of care-based hairdressers and how best to support them"
He and one of CABS' core members, Caroline Holland, have an article out in the current issue of the journal Ageing and Society
Ward, Richard and Holland, Caroline (2011). 'If I look old, I will be treated old': hair and later-life image dilemmas. Ageing and Society, 31(02), pp. 288–307.
I'm looking forward to learning more about this neglected topic.
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Looking through my family member spectacles, I focus on my feelings toward her, my memories of her, my sense of the sort of person she was and her place in the complex web of emotions that makes up any family.
Wearing my historian’s glasses, I think about the times she lived in and how that illuminates my sense of the past. When I think about non-conformist working class life in the early 20th century, I picture her birth family. When I think about changing attitudes to disability, I remember her exclusion from elementary school, and hence formal education, for a relatively minor disability. When I think about the impact of the NHS, I think about her recurring hospital treatments, both pre and post-NHS, and how those treatments shaped and improved her life.
If I put on my social gerontologist’s spectacles, I feel angry and despairing about her low quality of life in her later years, even in a relatively ‘good’ care home and in a much less socially isolated context than many care home residents. I also remember what a lot I learned about being an informal carer from just a fortnight of living with her after she came out of hospital one time.
With my feminist spectacles on, I think about how her female gender intertwined with her disability and her status as ‘youngest child of large family’ to position her within the family as the one who needed looking after. I speculate about how differently this might have played out had she been born a disabled boy.
As a sociologist with a particular interest in sexuality and relationships, I think about how a working class woman came to marry a much older widower from a wealthy family. And think about how complex her class position ended up being, with not much money but some fabulous Victorian furniture.
I don’t know whether my relative is going to have an obituary published anywhere, but if she does, it will probably talk about her love of music, her decades of service as a churchwarden and organist, her employment as a physiotherapy assistant, her short but happy marriage, her love of dogs and her sense of humour.
I’m struck by how partial all these pairs of spectacles are. Each of them brings only one aspect of her life into focus. While you can combine some of the lenses without giving yourself too much of a (theoretical) headache, they still do not even approach the rich complexity of a single, unremarkable woman’s life.
I guess that’s something of the enduring fascination to me of biographical approaches to the study of social life.
Cross-posted from rememberingmyhat.wordpress.com
Monday, 14 February 2011
I loved this sequence of oldest living things, starting with a self-cloning plant reckoned now to be 43,000 years old and ending with Galapagos tortoises, mere striplings at 150-odd years old.
I also enjoyed this Radio 4 programme about yew trees, the oldest of which they reckoned to be 5,000 years old.
I was amused that the website makes no reference to yew trees, and the Radio 4 programme made a claim for the 5,000 year old yew tree to possibly be the world's oldest living thing. I guess biologists don't always do their lit reviewing properly, just like social gerontologists.