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Older couples with long-term disabilities: Multiple jeopardy or successful ageing?
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.
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.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In a study where older couples who had lived long lives with physical disabilities were interviewed about mutual care, an unexpected finding that while the couples reported worsening disabilities, they also described themselves as advantaged, and as maintaining a high level of activity in some areas of life. In this article, we investigate how the couples achieve this sense of ageing successfully when the participants’ stories of physical decline, from an outsider’s perspective, might be thought to produce double-, triple- or multiple jeopardy. The results show how the couples use different types of reference groups and refer to various resources to frame themselves as privileged. Furthermore, through environmental adaptations, technical aids and supportive services, they managed to maintain a high level of activity, despite living with disabilities. Notably, the couples described themselves as advantaged by referring to being older, to the long life with disabilities and to ageing with disabilities together. The overarching ambition of the article is to problematize established notions of successful ageing. Considering that the couples referred to the very conditions that might be seen as disadvantageous,  the problem of pre-defined criteria for successful ageing becomes particularly apparent.

Keyword [en]
Long-term disability, successful ageing, active ageing, couples, multiple jeopardy, conjoint interviews
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104807OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-104807DiVA: diva2:699256
Note

This manuscript will not be published.

Available from: 2014-02-27 Created: 2014-02-27 Last updated: 2017-01-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ageing and Caring as Couples with Disabilities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ageing and Caring as Couples with Disabilities
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In gerontology and care research, care is often studied in ways in which older people and people with disabilities are portrayed as dependent on the care of younger or non-disabled people. This thesis, in contrast, studies care provided by people that are both old and have physical disabilities. The thesis explores how care is actualized and experienced by older couples who both have long-term or lifelong disabilities, and investigates the implications of this caring in the couples’ lives. Nine couples between 60 and 84 years old, of whom most had had disabilities for over 20 years, were interviewed as dyads; a process also conjoint interviewing. These interviews were analysed using grounded theory methods of coding and constant comparison. The results of the thesis confirm that it can make sense to be a carer even if one also needs care in everyday life. The analysis considers how conjoint interviewing resulted in relational and performative data about mutual care. The study helps explain the significance helping a partner despite having other sources of formal support and the difficulties of providing this help oneself. Finally, in a study whose participants are growing old together with disabilities, the results also show that the couples could regard themselves as ageing advantageously compared to other groups. Through its focus on caring for and by older people with disabilities, this thesis is at the intersection of social gerontology, care research and disability studies. However, from its interdisciplinary perspective, it can also challenge established discourses in these fields. Specifically, the study problematizes the absence of a care discourse in disability studies and the mostly age- and function-coded ways in which care is discussed in care research. The thesis problematizes dichotomies used in understanding care, such as roles of carers/care receiver and caring/servicing. It also challenges established ways of thinking about successful ageing. Lastly, the thesis contributes to the still growing literature on ageing with a disability.

Abstract [sv]

Gerontologin och omsorgsforskningen beskriver oftast äldre och personer med funktionshinder som mottagare av omsorg från yngre personer eller personer utan funktionshinder. Denna avhandling studerar däremot det omsorgsarbete som utförs av äldre personer med fysiska funktionshinder. Avhandlingen behandlar hur omsorg kan se ut och hur den kan förstås hos par där båda har levt långa liv med fysiska funktionshinder. Den studerar också vad den ömsesidiga omsorgen kan ha för innebörder i parens liv. Nio par mellan 60 och 84 års ålder, där många har haft funktionshinder i 20 år eller mer, intervjuades tillsammans som ett par, i s.k. conjoint interviews (parintervjuer). Analysen gjordes med hjälp av analytiska verktyg från grundad teori. Avhandlingens resultat visar att det går att vara omsorgsgivare trots att man själv har omfattande omsorgsbehov. Analysen beaktar emellertid också hur parintervjuerna kan ha bidragit till dessa berättelser av ömsesidig omsorg. Betydelsen av att kunna fortsätta att ge hjälp till en partner trots tillgång till den formella hjälpapparaten och egna svårigheter att ge hjälp diskuteras. Och till sist, trots att informanterna åldras med sina funktionshinder, visar resultaten på att paren anser sig själva att ha ett gott åldrande, och till och med bättre åldrande än andra grupper. Avhandingen befinner sig i gränslandet mellan socialgerontologi, omsorgs-forskning och funktionshinderforskning. Men genom den interdisciplinära ansatsen har några av de etablerade diskurserna inom dessa fält kunnat utmanas. En omsorgsdiskurs har länge saknats i  funktionshindersammanhang. Där har istället autonomi och oberoende stått i fokus. Avhandlingens resultat bidrar till en problematisering av de underliggande dikotomier som omsorgsbegreppet bygger på, såsom omsorgsgivare/omsorgstagare och omsorg/personlig service. Resultaten problematiserar också etablerade begrepp inom socialgerontologin som successful ageing (framgångsrikt åldrande eller det goda åldrandet). Till sist bidrar avhandlingen till den nu växande forskningen om att åldras med funktionshinder.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 82 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 604
Keyword
Care, physical disability, ageing, older couples, conjoint interviews, Omsorg, funktionshinder, åldrande, äldre par, parintervjuer
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104808 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-104808 (DOI)978-91-7519-410-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-03-21, K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Linköpings universitet, Norrköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-02-27 Created: 2014-02-27 Last updated: 2014-02-27Bibliographically approved

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Older couples with long-term disabilities: Multiple jeopardy or successful ageing?(420 kB)24 downloads
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Torgé, Cristina JoyTaghizadeh Larsson, Annika

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