Five: Maintaining dignity and independence

Older people’s perspectives on their experiences of ageing and dependency shed light on the complex nature of dignity as a personal and social concept. In this study, participants revealed how, as they became dependent on others for support and care, their lives felt increasingly precarious and their sense of dignity was challenged. Influenced by their life-course experiences as well as by their social circumstances, their response to this challenge included both perseverance and adjustment to change. The attitudes and behaviour of others, including those of professionals, contributed in crucially important ways to maintaining their sense of identity and dignity.

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