PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore the experience of older people and their sense of developing wellbeing, including consideration of the strategies they employ to respond to perceived risk.Design/methodology/approachAn Appreciative Inquiry study was used, which collected data with 58 participants in focus group and individual interviews. Interviews focussed on ways in which older people in South Africa, Australia, Germany and the UK understand and seek to maintain wellbeing.FindingsThe changing time horizons of older people lead to perceptions of risk and concerns that embrace societal as well as individual concerns. Often, this leads to a sense of societal responsibility and desire for social change, which is frustrated by a perceived exclusion from participation in society.Social implicationsIn mental health practice and education, it is imperative to embrace the shift from ageist concerns (with later life viewed as risky and tragic in itself) towards a greater sensitivity for older people’s resilience, the strategies they deploy to maintain this, and their desire for more control and respect for their potential to contribute to society.Originality/valueVariation in time horizons leads to changes in temporal accounting, which may be under-utilised by society. Consequently, societies may not recognise and support the resilience of older people to the detriment of older people as individuals and to the wider society.
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 8, 2018
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