Managing widowhood in later life: the challenges encountered

Collins, Tracy (2014) Managing widowhood in later life: the challenges encountered. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 21 (2). pp. 69-76. ISSN 1741-1645

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.12968/ijtr.2014.21.2.69

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
Uncontrolled Keywords: widowhood, challenges, personal communities, social relationships, Christmas
Subjects: L500 Social Work
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2017 13:31
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2017 13:32
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/32614

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