Publication details

Living within limits: Challenges and strategies of exploring fourth age

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Year of publication 2017
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description Nowadays we are witnessing the growing polarization within later life which is often divided into young-old and old-old and black-and-whitely depicted as a rather independent and active Third Age and a dependent and passive Fourth Age. Those older people suffering from various chronic diseases are primarily characterized as objects of care and ultimately othering as those who are living the feared state of becoming. The purpose of our poster is to bring reflection upon some challenges of qualitative research methods exploring the transition from Third to Fourth Age and to present some strategies used to capture the individual narratives lived within this transition. Based on our research experience and the existing methodologies rooted mostly in disability and child studies, we will present some innovative methods. Specifically, we will focus on the timeline technique as a possible path out of some research dilemmas. The timeline technique was used as a part of shared research diary that complemented repeated interviews with seniors and interviews with their care-takers. The assisted construction of one´s later life timeline provided a graphical temporal structure against which seniors could plot their recollection of everyday events and experience. Narratively based timeline also allowed us to approach our conversation partners from the biographical and relational perspective and helped us to develop the sensitive topics of life in Fourth Age (e.g. the fears from falling, the secrets about one´s body, adaptation to assistive devices) in later phases of interviews.
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