NDA Findings 8

Maintaining Dignity in Later Life: a longitudinal qualitative study of older people's experiences of support and care

Liz Lloyd, University of Bristol

Finding Synopsis

Dignity is a complex concept, understood in different ways and often most clearly when under threat. In later life health problems can be complex and life-threatening and lead to a loss of independence, identity and dignity. In these circumstances the support and care of others becomes crucial, increasingly so towards the end of life. This study explored the experiences of thirty-four older people whose health problems created a need for support and care.
We asked them about the changes occurring in their everyday lives and whether they felt the help they received promoted or undermined their dignity. Their accounts highlight the ways in which older people adapt to a growing need for help whilst also striving to maintain their independence. By focusing exclusively on
their experiences and perspectives this study contributes to a fuller understanding of this final stage of the life course and how dignity can be maintained.

Dr Liz Lloyd, University of Bristol
Professor Micahel Calnan, University of Kent
Ailsa Cameron, University of Bristol
Professor Jane Seymour, University of Nottingham
Professor Randall Smith, University of Bristol
Dr Kate White, University of Bristol

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