Skip to main content

Dignity in older age: What do older people in the United Kingdom think?

Woolhead, G., Calnan, Michael .W., Dieppe, Paul, Tadd, Win (2004) Dignity in older age: What do older people in the United Kingdom think? Age and Ageing, 33 (2). pp. 165-170. ISSN 0002-0729. (doi:10.1093/ageing/afh045) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afh045

Abstract

Background: dignity is a complex concept and there is little empirical research to show how older people view dignity. This study, using qualitative methods, explored the concept of dignity from the older person's perspective. Methods: 15 focus groups and two individual interviews were conducted in 12 different settings, with a total of 72 participants. Participants were purposively sampled to ensure a mix of socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, age (65+) and level of fitness. Focus groups were audio-taped and transcribed. The method of constant comparison was used to analyse the data. Results: there was strong evidence to suggest that dignity was salient to the concerns of older people. Dignity was seen as a multi-faceted concept: (i) dignity of identity (self-respect/esteem, integrity, trust); (ii) human rights (equality, choice); and (iii) autonomy (independence, control). Examples of dignity being jeopardised rather than being enhanced were given. A loss of self-esteem arose from being patronised, excluded from decision-making, and being treated as an 'object'. Lack of integrity in society meant that there was an inability to trust others and an increased vulnerability. Equality was an important issue but many felt that government policies did not support their rights. Conclusions: this work identifies the different ways dignity is conceptualised by older people. The evidence showed that person centred care for older people needs to be specifically related to communication, privacy, personal identity and feelings of vulnerability. It provides evidence for policy makers and professionals to tailor policies and practices to the needs of the older person.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1093/ageing/afh045
Uncontrolled keywords: Dignity, Older age, Qualitative research
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Mita Mondal
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2014 16:09 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2020 04:05 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/38751 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Calnan, Michael .W.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7239-6898
  • Depositors only (login required):