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'A story to tell': learning from the life-stories of older people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland

Hamilton, Carol and Atkinson, Dorothy (2009). 'A story to tell': learning from the life-stories of older people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(4) pp. 316–322.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3156.2009.00588.x
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Abstract

� Older people with intellectual disabilities have been telling their life-stories in Ireland.
– People remember being taken away from their family and community. People talk about sad memories of times in institutions.
– People talk about the kindness of friends and family.
– These stories tell staff that older people want to talk about their past and need help to do this. Doing life-story work will help staff to find out what older people who are in services in Ireland need to make their lives meaningful and comfortable.

This article draws on life-stories told by older people with intellectual disabilities for a research study in the Republic of Ireland. Research participants recalled their experiences of confinement, coercion and exclusion that resulted from their being labelled as having intellectual disabilities. Participants also recalled the positive interactions with workers and family members that sustained them during these difficult times. Extracts from these narratives show how past medical and social processes interlinked to classify members of this group as 'deficient' or 'lacking' in some way. Life-stories collected in this project illustrate the value of a narrative approach to exploring how services might begin to enhance the quality of support currently provided to older people with intellectual disabilities. However, life-story work in a service setting is far from straightforward, and support is needed for staff involved in this process.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 1354-4187
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetIrish Research Council for Humanities and Social Science
Keywords: digital archives; exclusion; hidden history; Ireland; institutional practices; narratives; redress; resilience
Academic Unit/Department: Health and Social Care
Item ID: 19712
Depositing User: Dorothy Atkinson
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2010 15:58
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2012 08:00
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/19712
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