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"We get to decide”: the role of collective engagement in counteracting feelings of confinement and lack of autonomy in residential care

Gleibs, Ilka H. and Sonnenberg, Stefanie J. and Haslam, Catherine (2014) "We get to decide”: the role of collective engagement in counteracting feelings of confinement and lack of autonomy in residential care. Activities, Adaptation and Aging, 38 (4). pp. 259-280. ISSN 0192-4788

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Maintenance of well-being is recognised as important for well-being in residential care, but the particular contribution that social groups and group activities make in this context is rarely considered. To understand how we can foster well-being in care, this study explores (a) older adults’ general experiences of life in long-term residential care, and (b) their particular experiences of participation in this group intervention. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with long-term care home residents and interview transcripts were analysed thematically. Thematic Analysis revealed two over-riding themes that illustrated participants’ general experiences of life in care. The first theme, ‘care home as home’, suggested that adjustment and positive social relations with carers play a role in enhancing well-being. The second theme, ‘being stuck’, described a general sense of confinement and a lack of control associated with living in long-term care. The significance of collective engagement became evident in relation to this second theme. Specifically, participants’ involvement in the group activity considered here was experienced as making a positive contribution to building social relations with other residents and, in doing so, as reducing residents’ sense of confinement and lack of control. Engagement in the group intervention and the resulting positive social relationships were thus experienced as a means of counteracting participants’ sense of ‘being stuck’. Overall, the findings point to the importance of group activities in fostering older adults’ autonomy and control – and thus well-being – in care.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Taylor & Francis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Social Psychology
Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Identification Number: 10.1080/01924788.2014.966542
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2013 13:37
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2016 11:14
Projects: RES-062-23-0135
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, British Academy Small Grant (SG-52142)

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