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Successful aging: abilities, strategies and understandings among elderly

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Successful aging: abilities, strategies and understandings among elderly
Women Speak Out Against Aging
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Life After Life ... Death is merely a changing room.
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THE CRONE: A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE OF MENOPAUSE
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Older Women Unite! Gray Is Gorgeous


Gerontological research has shown that elderly people find it problematic to become dependent upon other people and upon different social support programs in order to manage their everyday lives. A variety of studies have also shown that elders develop an awareness of their declining physical abilities when they start having health problems. There is, however, very little research on how this awareness might affect the strategies that elders utilize in order to age well and no research at all on what this awareness might mean to the understandings of successful aging that elders uphold. This project aims therefore to study how 'cognitively healthy' elders with minor physical health problems handle the transition that becoming a home help care recipient implies. This research focuses on the different strategies that these elders utilize in order to age well as well as on the implications that these might have for their understandings of successful aging. The focus is on both elders that have recently undergone the transition in question as well as those that are in need of help in order to manage their daily lives but who refuse to accept home-help care services. Primary Investigator: Dr Sandra Torres. Collaborating Researcher: Prof. Gunhild Hammarström. Research grant awarded by: The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). Project duration: 2003-2004

Successful aging: abilities, strategies and understandings among elderly
(Det goda åldrandet: kompetenser, strategier och föreställningar)

Gerontological research has shown that elderly people find it problematic to become dependent upon other people and upon different social support programs in order to manage their everyday lives. A variety of studies have also shown that elders develop an awareness of their declining physical abilities when they start having health problems. There is, however, very little research on how this awareness might affect the strategies that elders utilize in order to age well and no research at all on what this awareness might mean to the understandings of successful aging that elders uphold. This project aims therefore to study how 'cognitively healthy' elders with minor physical health problems handle the transition that becoming a home help care recipient implies. This research focuses on the different strategies that these elders utilize in order to age well as well as on the implications that these might have for their understandings of successful aging. The focus is on both elders that have recently undergone the transition in question as well as those that are in need of help in order to manage their daily lives but who refuse to accept home-help care services. Primary Investigator: Dr Sandra Torres. Collaborating Researcher: Prof. Gunhild Hammarström. Research grant awarded by: The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). Project duration: 2003-2004



Social Change and Social Policy for Elderly

As the welfare state is under debate and social policy programmes are changing, today's models of formal and informal care may be less appropriate in a future society. A study on values and attitudes to various care forms is performed in a survey (2000 Ss, age 20 - 85). General welfare attitudes and preferences between vaying models of organisation, performance and financing are studied and analysed out of a gender, a generation and a class perspective. Prof. Gunhild Hammarström is mainly responsible for this research.



Informal Care in a Life History Perspective

The informal care of the elderly in Sweden is extensive and mainly provided by family and friends. We know that, as in other countries, this support is most often given by women. What we know too little about is how such support, or the lack of it, is integrated in family cultures and/or the types of lives led by potential care givers. This research aims at reaching a deeper understanding of the possibilities and hazards of informal care by analyzing this in a gender/class/familiy and life history perspective. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are used in this research, for which Dr Marianne Winqvist is mainly responsible.



Aging, Body Image and Identity

In spite of Western culture's obsessive regard for body appearance as the main indicator of old age, social gerontological theories have often disregarded the body and the meaning of body-associations for people's identity during the aging process (e.g. expressed as "the ageless self").

When theories of aging have taken the body into account, these theories have regarded bodily decline as the epitome of aging, comprised by a contrast between a subjective experience of inner youthfulness and an outer process of biological decay (expressed as "the aging mask"). Reliable empirical studies about elderly people's own body-associations and identity-conceptions are however missing.

The purpose of this project is to study the relationship between people's own body-associations and identity-conceptions in an extensive survey of individuals between 20 and 85 years of age. Among others; we intend to scrutinize the extent to which people themselves are experiencing their own bodies, in the negative, way that theories of social gerontology and the ideals of popular culture propose and to identify the categories of individuals who might do so. Responsible: Dr Peter Öberg and Prof. Lars Tornstam.



A Sociological study of Religious and Spiritual Coping Strategies among male and female Cancer Patients

The initial aim of this project is to identify religious and spiritually oriented coping strategies used by men and women cancer patients. It will also be studied if age plays a roll in this respect. i.e. if there is any difference between the strategies used by elderly and younger generations. The eventual different strategies used by men and women will also be identified. The empirical data for the proposed study will be rely on cancer patients. Obviously this is an enormous subject for a limited project, especially concerning the very difference between divergent religions. It is therefore chosen to focus the attention on the patients who are socialized in cultural settings where Christianity is dominant. In this way those Swedes who are socialized in a Jewish or Muslim or other than Christian culture are not studied in this inquiry. This does not however mean that the chosen informants necessarily practice Christianity. There are among informants those who are non-believers. The method chosen is semi-structured interviews. Dr Fereshteh Ahmadi is mainly responsible for this study. Detailed information about the project can be found here.



Identities of older women

In social gerontology women's aging has generally been described as a painful experience. The same perspective is prevalent in feminist theories. Results from studies on younger women is taken as valid for older women without further consideration. In this way, the importance of age per se has been neglected and aging as a base for personal development is left out. A common assumption is that older women are exposed for a double jeopardy - both by age and by gender. Women's aging is described as painful as older women are supposed to be unable to match youthful norms of beauty and they are also supposed to be unable to continue to fulfil care giving tasks. To the extent that these assumptions have been tested empirically, research shows contradictory results. There is a lack of concrete data about older women's own understanding of their reality. Most of all, there is a lack of studies using other perspectives that the dominating perspective of women's aging as a misery.

The purpose of this study is to examine which other descriptions of older women's reality appear when a salutogenetic perspective, emphasizing positive aspects, is used.

Clary Krekula is the main responsible for this study.



Cultural representations of older drivers

Older drivers have been viewed in relation to traffic safety at least for the last two decades. In recent years the perspective has changed to incorporate a perspective of mobility. Furthermore, there are ongoing debates and discussions of how to understand "the problem" of older drivers. There has even been suggestions that the discourse of traffic safety of older drivers has been, or even still is, biased and based on stereotypes of older people. The aim of this project is to describe and give some understanding of the cultural representations of older drivers and discourses of older drivers. The project will use a historical perspective to try to trace the roots of the representations and discourses of older drivers. Furthermore, other alternative discourses than traffic safety and mobility will be searched for in order to nuance the problem orientated view of older drivers. Satu Heikkinen is the main responsible for this project.

This is a site about my journeying toward aging.
To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.
~ Henri Frederic Amiel ~