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Purpose and pleasure in late life: Conceptualising older women's participation in art and craft activities

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Publication Date
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UTS Institutional Repository
Keywords
  • Gerontology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Attitude
  • Self Concept
  • Role
  • Health Status
  • Leisure Activities
  • Art
  • Aged, 80 And Over
  • Female
  • Pleasure
  • Social Participation
  • Creativity
  • Aged, 80 And Over
  • Art
  • Attitude
  • Creativity
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pleasure
  • Role
  • Self Concept
  • Social Participation
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Abstract

The fourth age, as the last stage of life, represents a final challenge to find personal meaning in the face of changing capacities, illness and disability. Participation in valued activities is important for sustaining interest in life and has been associated with enhanced health and well-being. Art and craft activities are a popular form of participation amongst women in late life with growing international interest in the potential for these types of activities to maintain health and well-being and address problems of social isolation. Drawing on open text comments from 114 women enrolled in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health and in-depth interviews with 23 women all aged in their eighties, this paper explores the nature of older women's participation in art and craft activities and conceptualises links between participation in these activities and health and well-being in late life. Participation in art and craft activities is complex and dynamic, comprising cognitive and physical processes infused with emotion and occurs in the context of social relationships, physical spaces, physical ailments and beliefs about the value of the activities. By participating in art and craft activities, older women find purpose in their lives, contributing to their subjective well-being whilst helping and being appreciated by others. They develop a self view as enabled and as such take on new art and craft challenges, continue to learn and develop as art and craft makers and remain open to new possibilities.

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