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Getting Beyond ‘Mustn't Grumble’ and ‘What Can I Expect At My Age’: A Narrative Approach to Older Women’s Health Stories

By Pat Chambers

Abstract

When asked by researchers to rate their health, many older women reply:\ud “Mustn’t grumble”. Other older women, who objectively may manifest similar\ud or fewer health problems but may have internalised ageist and sexist\ud assumptions, will reply: “What can I expect at my age”. Indeed, the\ud discrepancy between so-called “objective” measures of health in later life and\ud lay perspectives is well reported in the literature on old age. However, little\ud attention has been paid to the way in which these diverse responses arise from\ud older women’s attempts to make sense of changing health circumstances in the\ud context of their individual, and collective life course, and growing old in an\ud ageist society.\ud This chapter, therefore, seeks to raise such a discussion by drawing on data\ud derived from recent empirical research on older women and biography\ud (Chambers, 2002a) to explore the interaction of personal/collective biography,\ud ageism and current self reported health in the types of ‘health stories’ older\ud women tell

Topics: HQ, BF
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:5124

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