Title

Poster Session - To be part of an unfolding story - Togetherness in everyday occupations when aging

Location

Winter Garden

Start Time

16-10-2014 6:00 PM

End Time

16-10-2014 9:00 PM

Abstract

The need to recognize the complex and situated nature of occupation has been addressed by researchers within occupational therapy and occupational science. Currently, there is an on-going dialog criticizing the notion of individualism upon which assumption within these disciplines are built (Cutchin & Dickie, 2012; Hammel, 2009; Laliberte Rudman & Dennhard, 2008). Addressing people’s occupation beyond an individualistic notion is essential if we are to develop a contextualized understanding of occupation, i.e., as person-in-place, encompassing the importance of interconnectedness and interdependency in promoting engagement in meaningful occupation. The aim of this research paper is to explore and describe how togetherness in everyday occupations is experienced and discussed among elderly persons. Focus group discussions generated the data and a total of twelve elderly persons participated in this study. Analysis was performed using a constant comparative method based on the guidelines given by Charmaz (2006).The findings reflects how togetherness in everyday occupations can be comprehended as multifold transactional processes, emphasizing how an acted belonging was a situated experience connecting people and places through unfolding stories. However, being part of togetherness was complicated, especially when the person’s life situation was challenged in some way. Togetherness could not be taken for granted; instead, it was understood as a process of constant negotiation, dealing with issues of how to become part of such contexts and whose responsibility it was. Our findings reflect how togetherness is a process of negotiating and creating meaning in on-going life through shared culture and experiences. Further, that there is a transparency of the different dimensions of meaning; doing, being, becoming and belonging, contributing to each other in various ways in different situations. In addition, our findings reflect the significance of place as an arena where participants became part of an unfolding story. Belonging to a place and being connected to others enabled the participants to negotiate their identity together with others through their shared experiences. From the findings, place could either be associated with togetherness or with loneliness and isolation. In light of this, there is a need to consider how to promote different places in society where elderly people can become part of togetherness in everyday occupations.

Key Words: Everyday Occupation, Meaning, Togetherness

References

Cutchin, M. P., & Dickie, V. A. (2012). Transactionalism: Occupational science and the pragmatic attitude. In G. Whiteford & C. Hocking (Eds.), Occupational science: Society, Inclusion, Participation (pp. 23-37). London: Wiley.

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing Grounded Theory A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.

Hammel, K. W. (2009). Sacred texts: A skeptical exploration of the assumptions underpinning theories of occupation. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(1), 6-13. Doi: 10.1177/000841740907600105

Laliberte Rudman, D., & Dennhardt, S. (2008). Shaping knowledge regarding occupation: Examining the cultural underpinnings of the evolving concept of occupational identity. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 55, 153-162. Doi:10.1111/j.1440-16302007.00715.x

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Oct 16th, 6:00 PM Oct 16th, 9:00 PM

Poster Session - To be part of an unfolding story - Togetherness in everyday occupations when aging

Winter Garden

The need to recognize the complex and situated nature of occupation has been addressed by researchers within occupational therapy and occupational science. Currently, there is an on-going dialog criticizing the notion of individualism upon which assumption within these disciplines are built (Cutchin & Dickie, 2012; Hammel, 2009; Laliberte Rudman & Dennhard, 2008). Addressing people’s occupation beyond an individualistic notion is essential if we are to develop a contextualized understanding of occupation, i.e., as person-in-place, encompassing the importance of interconnectedness and interdependency in promoting engagement in meaningful occupation. The aim of this research paper is to explore and describe how togetherness in everyday occupations is experienced and discussed among elderly persons. Focus group discussions generated the data and a total of twelve elderly persons participated in this study. Analysis was performed using a constant comparative method based on the guidelines given by Charmaz (2006).The findings reflects how togetherness in everyday occupations can be comprehended as multifold transactional processes, emphasizing how an acted belonging was a situated experience connecting people and places through unfolding stories. However, being part of togetherness was complicated, especially when the person’s life situation was challenged in some way. Togetherness could not be taken for granted; instead, it was understood as a process of constant negotiation, dealing with issues of how to become part of such contexts and whose responsibility it was. Our findings reflect how togetherness is a process of negotiating and creating meaning in on-going life through shared culture and experiences. Further, that there is a transparency of the different dimensions of meaning; doing, being, becoming and belonging, contributing to each other in various ways in different situations. In addition, our findings reflect the significance of place as an arena where participants became part of an unfolding story. Belonging to a place and being connected to others enabled the participants to negotiate their identity together with others through their shared experiences. From the findings, place could either be associated with togetherness or with loneliness and isolation. In light of this, there is a need to consider how to promote different places in society where elderly people can become part of togetherness in everyday occupations.

Key Words: Everyday Occupation, Meaning, Togetherness