Living at home after 95 years : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Nursing at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Globally the number of older people is increasing with the largest increases occurring in those aged over 85 years. Historically little has been written about this group and because of increasing numbers more information is needed to inform the development of future services. The question was how people live in their own home independently after 95 years? This work was informed by narrative gerontology overlaid with a critical gerontological lens to give voice to this group. Through a purposive sampling strategy ten narrators were identified and were interviewed using a semi-structured format. Data analysis was undertaken using thematic analysis with three themes; staying socially connected, managing the physical environment and keeping and ageing well emerging. Further to this, there were associated subthemes, which support and further illuminate the detail of the theme itself. These findings also unsettled the ageist, biomedical view of the oldest-old and what we think we know about them. In this study the narrators gave voice to their lives and what contributed to them living at home independently. Not everyone will live to 95+ years and how this was achieved by this group was the result of their entire lives and showed itself in the resilient characters of these narrators. All of whom considered the benefits of social connectedness, hard work and keeping well as reasons for living independently at home. As well as this, the need to stay mobile and the current contribution of help and support from both family were contributing factors. This research provides considerations for changes in not only the way we view those over 95 years but also the way we consult and provide services to them. There is an urgent need to promote achieving resilience, eliminate ageism and promote a more balanced view of the oldest-old.
Elderly living at home, Ageing, Living independently, Gerontology, People over 85, Home care, Services for the elderly