Managing widowhood in later life: the challenges encountered

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8 Citations (Scopus)


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.
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.
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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2014


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