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Title: Social life of older people living alone in Hong Kong
Author: Yu, Wai Kwan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 7181
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2014
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Hong Kong’s population is ageing. The increase of older people living alone and their living arrangement have raised much concern in recent years. More seriously, many of those living alone are found and identified to be disengaged from the community and disadvantaged yet not helped by available services and support. The aim of this research is mainly to gain an in-depth understanding of the perspectives of the social lives of older people living alone in Hong Kong through exploring their social life patterns and experiences. The areas of study include the understanding of what major factors contribute to or influence their social lives and the difference in social life before and after living alone. A qualitative method is adopted by conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with thirty Chinese older people aged 65 or over and living alone for five years or above. For the purpose of triangulation for reliability and validity, three focus groups were also conducted after the completion of individual interviews. Research findings indicate that the reasons for living alone for most of the research participants seem to be involuntary and the choice of living alone depends on some socioeconomic factors such as changes in family structure and life. The greatest change in lifestyle usually occurs because of the death of a spouse. Among those living alone for longer periods, family relationships with their adult children have diminished and thus, they long for genuine concern and care from others. Social life, as perceived by older people, is important as it brings benefits for mental health. Emotional support that develops by expanding social relationships with peer groups is the most important in later life when living alone. Most of the females enjoy expanding their social circles from their domestic circles. Males prefer to continue working after retirement. They show passive in joining social activities but develop their own interests. Worsening health, having no companion, financial difficulties and lacking community resources are regarded as obstacles to expanding their social circles and joining social activities. The findings of the study are expected to provide reference for service providers in the field of social work with older people to explore whether there are community resources or welfare services that can help to improve the social lives of older people living alone.
Supervisor: juliet, Koprowska Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available