Struggling for independence: The meaning of being an oldest old man in a rural area. Interpretation of oldest old men's narrations

  • Ness T
  • Hellzen O
  • Enmarker I
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The amount of older people receiving home nursing care is increasing; in rural areas, they are at additional risk because of the distance between people and health care facilities. No specific studies have been found about oldest old men living alone and receiving home nursing care and the meaning of living alone in one's own home. The aim of this study was therefore to illuminate the meaning of being an oldest old man living alone in a rural area and receiving home nursing care. A sample of 12 oldest old men living in rural areas in the middle of Norway was chosen for this study. Narrative interviews were conducted, and data were analyzed using the phenomenological hermeneutical method. After a naïve reading and a structural analysis of the text, we identified three themes: feelings of insufficiency in everyday life, finding hope in life, and feeling reconciliation with life. The comprehensive understanding suggested that being an oldest old man living alone in a rural area means a struggle between a dependent existence and a desire to be independent. Living in the tension between independence and dependency is a complex emotional situation where one is trying to accept the consequences of life and loss--reconciling the wish to live with the fact that life will come to an end.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Oldest old
  • Phenomenological hermeneutics
  • Rural

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  • Tove Mentsen Ness

  • Ove Hellzen

  • Ingela Enmarker

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