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Managing widowhood in later life: The challenges encountered

Collins, T 2014, 'Managing widowhood in later life: The challenges encountered' , International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 21 (2) , pp. 69-76.

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Abstract

Background/aim: Widowhood in later life is a transition experienced by many older people, particularly older women. This paper explores the challenges encountered by a group of older women experiencing the loss of a spouse or partner. Methods: The data is drawn from a longitudinal study exploring the significance of personal communities in managing the transition of later life widowhood. A series of qualitative interviews were conducted with 26 older widows (62–90 years of age) over a period of 18 months. Interview transcripts were subjected to thematic analysis. Results: This paper presents a number of themes from the women’s accounts of their Christmas celebrations and their Christmas cards, which illustrate the challenges to managing widowhood in later life. Themes included: family friction, dependence, additional losses, over commitment, passivity and feeling different. Conclusion: The findings reveal that Christmas can be an isolating and excluding experience for some older women, and that widowhood can be compounded by age-related illness, and the loss of social relationships and roles in later life. The research has a number of implications for practice with older women who are widows.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Schools > School of Health Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Publisher: Mark Allen Healthcare
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1741-1645
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: T Collins
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2014 14:12
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:42
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/30859

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