Reconceptualising later life: using qualitative methods to refine understanding of new ageing populations

Lowton, Karen (2012) Reconceptualising later life: using qualitative methods to refine understanding of new ageing populations. In: Leontowitsch, Miranda (ed.) Researching Later Life and Ageing: Expanding Qualitative Research Horizons. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 41-60. ISBN 9780230280472

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This chapter seeks to highlight our uncertainty over how far members of new ageing populations have the potential to become ‘everyday experimenters’ who exercise free choice in their lifestyles as they grow older, and to what extent these populations will age more through constraint; by living a life influenced by what health will allow and what mainstream society and its services offer in response. The chapter begins by examining the nature of the groups that make up the new ageing populations and the drivers behind their improving longevity and quality of life. In understanding where qualitative methods can begin to address some of the new research agendas for these populations, four key areas of enquiry are considered through a focus on adults with cystic fibrosis (CF, an inherited genetic condiion): how health and social care needs can be identified and met as individuals age; what the roles of family and friends might be in supporting individuals as they grow older; how far identity and social roles are shaped both by the underlying condition and society’s responses to it; and how the ‘older’ person of the future may not be classified usefully by chronological age. The chapter concludes by exploring how qualitative research can help understand these issues across the lifecourse of new ageing populations, and how often sensitive areas can be addressed in research practice.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences
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Depositing User: Karen Lowton
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 08:36
Last Modified: 22 May 2015 08:36
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