This paper uses findings from in-depth life story research undertaken in the United Kingdom to examine the meanings of growing older for men and women aged between 60 and 96 years old, drawing on previous gerontological work about the experience of aging. The findings revealed that meaning as applied to age was not fixed chronologically, but held diverse meanings based on participants' feelings, experiences, and interactions with others, whilst also reflecting and resisting some of the commonly held and mainly negative, stereotypes about later life. The participants said that they did not feel old, but indicated that there had been times in their lives when they had felt old: times of illness, redundancy, and bereavement They also associated aging with physical and mental decline and illness, whether or not this reflected their substantive experience. Although participants' stories revealed that the unpleasant aspects of growing older cannot be denied, they also indicated that attitudes, behavior, and actions can, to an extent, help later life to be a more positive experience.
|Journal||International Journal on Disability and Human Development|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2006|