In 2002 there were 19.8 million people in the United Kingdom over the age of 50 and it is estimated that by 2031 there will be close to 27 million (UK National Statistics Office, 2005). Predictions about the older population changes in the next twenty years indicate that although overall growth will be low, the numbers of ‘young old’ (65-74) and ‘middle old’ (75-84) remaining stable until 2011, the ‘old old’ (85+) will show a substantial increase (Grundy, 2004). Bowling et al (2002) stressed the importance of maintaining independence and control over one's life with ageing. This, together with having social roles and participating in social and voluntary activities/hobbies to include those performed alone, contributes to the foundation of good quality of life in old age. New European policies for older adults focus on the provision of equal opportunities, health promotion and stress their involvement in decision-making (Fletcher, 2000). The increase in the ageing population is evident in the corresponding rise in the growth of nursing and residential homes, sheltered accommodation and home care support and it is anticipated that greater provision will be needed (Wittenberg et al , 1998), particularly if the aspirations of European policy are to be realised. However, some studies (eg, Sheppard, 2003) have documented the paucity of rehabilitation in residential and nursing homes and highlighted the disempowerment experienced by residents. The process of transition in the later stages of the life span from full independence in a familiar home environment to one of total care while providing security may engender feelings of helplessness with a decrease in psychological well-being. This article outlines and discusses the findings of a study using narratives with older adults, undertaken to explore such effects of life changes, including transition, on their self-concept.
Quality in Ageing and Older Adults – Pier Professional
Published: Dec 1, 2005
Keywords: place of residence