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 editorsVasara, Paula

Journal or seriesInternational Journal of Ageing and Later Life


Publication year2020


Issue number2

Pages range35-59

PublisherLinköping University Electronic Press

Publication countrySweden

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen 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.

Keywordsageingolder peoplecourse of lifeold agewidows and widowersexperienced well-beinggood lifeeverydaypersonal narrative

Free keywordsageing well; everyday life; narratives; widows

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

Preliminary JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 21:35