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Intergenerational relations materialized: The significance of older peoples’ private possessions in residential care
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later Life. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5295-2482
2012 (English)In: 21st Nordic Congress of Gerontology: Dilemmas in Ageing Societies / [ed] Rönholt, Finn and Swane, C.E., Nordisk gerontologisk förening , 2012, 94- p.Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This presentation conveys results from an ongoing study of the significance of the private possessions that older people bring to their last home in residential care. The focus is on intergenerational relations embedded in the older person’s private assets and how these possessions represent the next of kin. The research is a qualitative study, with individual, semi-structured interviews as the main data collection method. Also, photography was used to document the interviewees’ rooms and assets. Eleven interviews were carried out with 13 older individuals involved. They were in the age range of 60 to 99. The analysis was based on actor network theory and aimed to reveal how artefacts are included in networks in time and space in which personal relations are remembered, confirmed or symbolized. Several aspects of time are present in these networks; the past, the now, and the future are conflated to a field of associations with significant others. There is a need for an extremely restricted selection of things when the older person moves from an often substantially bigger ordinary home to the small bed-sitting room or flat that is normally available to older people in residential care. The things selected may represent the most valuable of an older individual’s possessions, perhaps not so much in economic value, but rather emotionally, practically and as a representation of the individual’s identity and life in which other individuals play and have played an important role. The results show who these significant others are and what types of artefacts represent older people’s relations with them. Furthermore, the results show how relations/artefacts are connected to the older person’s life-stories as well as their present day support and social life. The study concludes that family members from the past and present constitute the most important relations to an older individual in the very late phase of life in residential care. Most of the few assets that are brought to the last home are linked to them in a number of ways.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nordisk gerontologisk förening , 2012. 94- p.
Keyword [en]
Obejcts, older people, residential care, possessions, disbandment of home
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81007OAI: diva2:549830
21st Nordic Congress of Gerontology, 10-13 June 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark
Att skingra hemmet. Tingens förändrade betydelse under livets sena skeden och övergångar
Swedish Research Council, 2009-1460
Available from: 2012-09-05 Created: 2012-09-05 Last updated: 2015-04-22Bibliographically approved

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Nord, Catharina
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NISAL - National Institute for the Study of Ageing and Later LifeFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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