Seniors in Society. Strategies to Retain Individual Autonomy

Ivana Loucková

Abstract

The research project on "Seniors in Society. Strategies to Retain Individual Autonomy" (2002 - 2004) is supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic. It's importance is empha-sized by the relevance of social and economic aspects of demographic ageing of the popula-tion and that of fundamental changes associated with the transformation of Czech society. The objectives of the research are (1) to find out seniors' material and social resources sup-porting their relative autonomy in everyday life, (2) to record their personal expectations from state, community, or formal and informal support and aid institutions, respectively, and (3) to uncover their engagement in social interaction and individual experiencing of the integration into social groups. The data acquired become the base for (4) identifying the typologies corre-sponding to the levels of seniors' social integration (i.e. groups of relatives, friends, neighbours, special-interest and professional groups). By applying qualitative methods, we explore (5) strategies of everyday life and coping with life cycle events and crisis within par-ticular types. Special attention is paid to the family background of the seniors, including rela-tives in the vertical line. Specifically, we focus on (6) conditions under which family is capa-ble and willing to help or actually is helping it's oldest members, as well as on their interpre-tation within (7) identified types of the relatives supportive systems.

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