A1 Journal article (refereed)
Opposite Ends : widows' narratives of contemporary late life (2020)

Vasara, P. (2020). Opposite Ends : widows' narratives of contemporary late life. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, 14(2), 35-59. https://doi.org/10.3384/ijal.1652-8670.1619

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Vasara, Paula

Journal or series: International Journal of Ageing and Later Life

eISSN: 1652-8670

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 14

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 35-59

Publisher: Linköping University Electronic Press

Publication country: Sweden

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3384/ijal.1652-8670.1619

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68894


The life course perspective frames this study of contemporary late life. Thematic narrative analysis is employed to analyse the stories of 16 Finn­ish widows aged 79–89 years (Moving in Old Age: Transitions in Housing and Care research project) in order to explore the experiences related to growing old. The results indicate two kinds of narratives: nostalgic rem­iniscences about a happy past are typical of the retiring to solitude story, characterised by experiences of life nearing its end and of letting go; and those inclined towards the keeping up narrative are still seeking new ex­periences and playing active roles in everyday life. Both kinds of stories encompass well-being, in spite of their apparent differences in outcome. These results indicate that there is no single description of ageing well. Individual experiences of growing old are unique, and are interpreted within the frame of past experiences and understandings acquired over the life course. Therefore, leeway should be given for individual consider­ations regarding the particularities of life arrangements in advanced age.

Keywords: ageing; older people; course of life; old age; widows and widowers; experienced well-being; good life; everyday; personal narrative

Free keywords: ageing well; everyday life; narratives; widows

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:21