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A narrative exploration of older people’s transitions into residential care

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Aging and Mental Health
Issue number1
Volume17
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)48-56
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Objectives: Moving into residential care has been argued to be a significant life transition for older people, often resulting in stress and anxiety. This research aimed to explore qualitatively older people's experiences of this transition, including how relocation is reflected upon and incorporated into their personal narratives.

Method: Eight older adults (65–97 years) living in a residential facility for between three and 12 months participated in interviews focussed on their experiences of relocating to a residential care home.

Results: Narrative analysis revealed that rather than depicting time bound stages of transition, participants’ experiences reflected key plots of ‘control’, ‘power’, ‘identity’ and ‘uncertainty’ interwoven throughout their narratives. Participants experienced some difficulties in incorporating this transition into their life stories. Furthermore, participants discussed not feeling confident in their decision to move, living in constant fear of losing their memory, and limited expectations for their future.

Conclusion: Professionals should move away from considering transition as a stage-based process ending in acceptance, instead focussing on how residents perceive relocation in relation to previous life experiences, unspoken fears evoked by moving and how the environment and relationships with staff may be altered to assist residents in maintaining their identity and sense of control.