Life situation and identity among single older home-living people: A phenomenological-hermeneutic study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionDale, B., Söderhamn, U., & Söderhamn, O. (2012). Life situation and identity among single older home-living people: A phenomenological-hermeneutic study. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 7, 11. doi: 10.3402/qhw.v7i0.18456
Being able to continue living in their own home as long as possible is the general preference for many older people, and this is also in line with the public policy in the Nordic countries. The aim of this study was to elucidate the meaning of self-care and health for perception of life situation and identity among single-living older individuals in rural areas in southern Norway. Eleven older persons with a mean age of 78 years were interviewed and encouraged to narrate their self-care and health experiences. The interviews were audio taped, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a phenomenological-hermeneutic method inspired by the philosophy of Ricoeur. The findings are presented as a naive reading, an inductive structural analysis characterized by two main themes; i.e., "being able to do" and "being able to be", and a comprehensive interpretation. The life situation of the interviewed single-living older individuals in rural areas in southern Norway was interpreted as inevitable, appropriate and meaningful. Their identity was constituted by their freedom and self-chosen actions in their personal contexts. The overall impression was that independence and the ability to control and govern their own life in accordance with needs and preferences were ultimate goals for the study participants.
Published version of an article from the journal: International journal of qualitative studies on health and well-being. Also available from Co-Action Publishing:http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/qhw.v7i0.18456