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Managing the ageing experienceLearning from older people$
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Denise Tanner

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348869

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348869.001.0001

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‘Staying me’

‘Staying me’

Chapter:
(p.83) Four ‘Staying me’
Source:
Managing the ageing experience
Author(s):

Denise Tanner

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781861348869.003.0005

‘Staying me’, refers to older people’s efforts to retain a sense of continuity between their past, present and anticipated future lives, and to sustain a sense of self, often in the face of situations that threaten to disrupt continuity and undermine a positive self-concept. This theme encompasses two categories: continuity and self-affirmation. In Atchley’s (1989) ‘continuity theory’, older people attempt to preserve continuity both in terms of circumstances and behaviour (external continuity) and also in ways of thinking and perceiving (internal continuity). In this chapter, dimensions of continuity are depicted in the four sub-categories of life themes, attitudes and values (‘not going against the grain’), relationships and home. Self-affirmation, on the other hand, refers to participants’ self-valuations and social presentation. The strategies of self-affirmation presented here enable older people to dissociate themselves from negative stereotypes and expectations of old age, thereby resisting the imposition of a damaging social identity.

Keywords:   external continuity, continuity, social identity, continuity theory, life themes, old age

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