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Title: The social lives of older men living in care homes and the implications for their wellbeing
Author: Maluf, Adriano
ISNI:       0000 0004 7426 9221
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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Older men’s social networks tend to be smaller with less frequent contact than those of older women. In care homes, the majority of residents and staff members are female: Of the population living in care homes for older people in England and Wales three quarters are female as are 90% of staff. It is not known how this might affect the social lives of those, particularly men, living in care homes. This study explored the following research questions: 1. How do male residents socialise in a care home for older people? 2. How do residents shape their social relations in terms of gender? 3. How does the predominance of women in care home environments impact on male residents’ social experiences and their sense of wellbeing? An ethnographic approach was used comprising participant observation and informal interviews in three care homes. Communal areas of the care homes such as the lounge tended to be gendered spaces as female residents extensively used these areas to socialise through ‘shared intimacy’. Men spent long periods of time in their bedrooms where they had greater control, autonomy and privacy and experienced moments of solitude while using the communal areas instrumentally to attend activities. Meal times were essential for male residents’ social lives. Men used the dining spaces as platforms to socialise with their peers and experience the social life in the care home community. Residents’ table assignments were key to forging and maintaining closer social ties with peers. The table assignment consisted of two stages: a. allocation (in which care staff exerted control over the communal areas by determining residents’ seats in the dining room); b. appropriation (residents’ exerted agency by routinely occupying the same space in the dining room). Care homes for older people tended to create spaces and activities which were orientated towards female residents and therefore may socially isolate male residents. However, men’s ability to determine their social routines by alternating periods of time in both public and private spaces appeared to be important for their care and therefore, to their wellbeing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available