The Phenomenological Experience of Health Among Centenarians From ‘Objective’ Impairments to New Meanings of Life


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The Phenomenological Experience of Health Among Centenarians From ‘Objective’ Impairments to New Meanings of Life
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IAGG Gerontological Society Conference
del Rio Carral Maria, Santiago-Delefosse Marie, Jopp Daniela
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Health issues among very old age concern concomitant illnesses and other physical or cognitive impairments that affect daily functioning. This situation often results in the loss of autonomy, including giving up of leisure activities that used to be part of everyday life and that used to give meaning to it. Particularly, research on centenarians has pointed out a discrepancy between the objective assessments of their health versus their health experience. The present study examines how centenarians experience health in daily life with the aim to better understand their own needs. Part of a broader survey conducted in the U.S. (Fordham Centenarian Study, N = 119; 78.2% females; 19.3% African American and 79.8% White), we analyzed the answers given by 77 centenarians to open-ended questions about their current challenges, by applying a thematic content analysis technique (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Findings indicate 3 different types of perceived challenges: 1) lived corporeality, 2) sociocultural activities and interactions, and 3) existential being and psychological adjustments. These challenges are embedded in concrete living conditions, and their integration at psychological level implies constant modifications. Centenarians’ health experience appears as a dynamic process where representations and expectations are continuously readjusted to both, corporeality and sociality. Aging successfully appears related to the progressive transition to a different “lived world” with specific needs. In this “world”, loss is an overarching key issue where new ways of living that can provide pleasure are found. This study points the interest of adopting a comprehensive perspective to the understanding of ageing.
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05/10/2017 14:39
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20/08/2019 15:08
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