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Preserving Dignity in Later Life

  • José Manuel São José (a1)

Abstract

This article examines how elders who receive social care in the community experience loss of dignity and how they preserve their dignity. Qualitative research revealed that loss of dignity is a major concern for these elders and that they preserve their dignity differently, ranging from actively engaging with life to detaching themselves from life. We conclude that, in later life, preserving dignity while receiving social care differs from preserving dignity in the context of health care, especially health care provided in institutional settings. Furthermore, preserving dignity in later life, while receiving social care, is a complex process, depending not only on performing activities and individual action and responsibility, but also on other actions, some of them involving a certain inactivity/passivity, and interactions with others, especially caregivers. This article offers some insights to developing better policies and care practices for promoting dignity in the context of community-based social care.

Cet article examine comment les personnes âgées qui recoivent l’aide sociale dans la communauté subissent une perte de la dignité et comment ils conservent leur dignité. La recherche qualitative a révélé que la perte de dignité est une préoccupation majeure pour ces aînés, et qu’ils conservent leur dignité de differentes manières, variant de s’engager activement à la vie jusqu’à s’en détacher. Nous concluons que, dans la vie plus tard, la préservation de la dignité tout en recevant des soins sociaux diffère de conserver la dignité dans le contexte des soins de sante, en particulier les soins de santé fournis dans un cadre institutionnel. En outre, conserver la dignité en fin de vie, tout en recevant des soins sociaux, est un processus complexe, qui dépend non seulement de l’exécution des activités et la prise des actions individuelles et de leurs responsabilités, mais aussi d’autres actions, dont certaines impliquent une certaine inactivité/passivité, ainsi qu’interagir avec les autres, surtout les soignants. Cet article propose meilleures politiques et pratiques pour la promotion de la dignité des personnes âgeés dans le contexte de la protection sociale à base communautaire.

Copyright

Corresponding author

La correspondance et les demandes de tire-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: José Manuel de São José, Ph.D. Faculty of Economics Campus de Gambelas Edifício 9 8005-139 Faro (Portugal) (jsjose@ualg.pt)

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Preserving Dignity in Later Life

  • José Manuel São José (a1)

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