Health> Vol.5 No.8, August 2013

Health and widowhood: Meanings and experience of elderly women in Chile

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ABSTRACT

Aging and widowhood signal a real and symbolic landmark of change toward new vital experiences of elderly people. In the aging experience of women, there are three social age markers that participate directly in the construction of their identity as women during old age: menopause, work and widowhood. The present paper reports the results of a research on widowhood in old age and the experience of aging in elderly women in Chile. Through a qualitative methodological strategy, in depth biographic interviews were held with elderly people who were widowed after reaching 60 years of age, centering the analysis on its meanings on the body, health and death in old age, highlighting sociocultural aspects of the aging and widowing processes. Approaching widowhood in old age shows us not only a person who has lost a husband, but also what it means to be an elderly woman in a life experience continuum that also brings about key changes to understand the aging process of people, because marital relations can get to be determining factors for the construction of the identity of women and their experience of the aging process.

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Cite this paper

Osorio-Parraguez, P. (2013) Health and widowhood: Meanings and experience of elderly women in Chile. Health, 5, 1272-1276. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.58173.

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