Environment and identity in later life
Open University Press, 2006 - Medical - 182 pages
Throughout life, our everyday interactions with material, social , and psychological environments influence our self identity: and ‘who we think we are’ influences how we behave in particular places. In later life, people bring to this relationship a lifetime’s experience that makes certain associations more or less important. This book explores the relationship between environment and identity for older people. Much has been written about the experiences of older people living in ‘special’ age-segregated settings. This book unusually involves the experience of men and women of different ages and cultures living in a range of different kinds of places, including ‘ordinary’ and ‘special’ housing - from a high-rise flat to a residential care home - in semi-rural, urban and metropolitan locations within the south midlands and south-east England. Through a detailed ethnographic study we hear older people talking in depth about their situations and experiences of space and place. This research enables us to appreciate how they manage their needs within the context of their whole lives. Many are able to achieve a ‘life of quality’ as they constantly engage and re-engage with their environment. Understanding this process allows greater clarification of what it means to move towards the end of life. The discussion of how environmental complexity influences people in developing and maintaining their own identity is essential for those involved in planning, designing, caring and supporting people as they age in 21st century Britain.
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