Exploring the goals of older people with high support needs in the UK: does their consumption match their aspirations?

Katz, Jeanne; Holland, Caroline and Peace, Sheila (2012). Exploring the goals of older people with high support needs in the UK: does their consumption match their aspirations? In: Second ISA Forum of Sociology: Social Justice and Democratization, 1-4 Aug 2012, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

URL: http://www.isa-sociology.org/buenos-aires-2012/


Much has been written by policy makers, think tanks, practitioners, gerontologists and others about the importance of involving older people in determining what they need in order to function in the ways that they choose. As part of a larger programme entitled The ‘Better Life’ programme funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in the UK, this study (Katz et al 2011) explored the views of a diverse group of 25 older people with high support needs including those with differing lifestyles, past experiences, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, financial and other resources, family and network composition, education. These individuals might face additional challenges resulting from complex health conditions as well as discrimination.

This study which took place across the countries of the UK focused on (a) ascertaining whether previously unresearched older (and some younger) people with high support needs (PHSN) would validate values identified in the few prior studies undertaken, and (b) enabling participants to describe their specific needs and express freely their own aspirations. This paper describes the contexts in which these questions can be asked through identifying some of the challenges of interviewing people from different backgrounds, with varying degrees of literacy and with a wide range of high support needs, including severe communication or sensory difficulties. The Facets of Life Wheel (Peace, Holland and Kellaher, 2006) was adapted for this purpose and interviews were video and/or audio recorded.

This paper will present findings from this diverse group of people with high support needs including issues about service provision, information, finance and biographical factors, to explore individual participants’ experiences of accessing, and of failing to access, goods and services that they maintain could enhance their quality of life. Age discrimination and human rights are central to this discussion.

Viewing alternatives

No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions