Examples from the interviews.
The researchers cite many examples from the interviews to make their case. Here is a sample:
Mrs B (aged 87), a former nursing assistant, is no longer able to keep up with her housework. "Whenever I think: 'Oh, you ought to tidy things up again!', I don't do it every time, it doesn't bother me."
Mrs M (aged 88), a retired school teacher who uses a walking frame, reflects on how she will never be able to travel abroad again. "I'll never get there [to the ocean] again - never mind. That's just the thing, you make the most of the things you've had […] Of course, it's a shame I've never been to Greece. But: so what? As a child I saw half the world." [words in italics were uttered in English.]
Mrs H (aged 86), a former laundry shop worker, speaking about her incontinence: "I can think of more pleasant things."
Mrs L (aged 84), a former unskilled assistant at trade auctions, suffers from chronic pain. "… [Y]ou take what comes. What else can you do? I can still take pleasure in this and that."
- Public perceptions of old age (80 +) focus largely on deficiency and loss.
- By contrast, elderly people (80 +) report ways in which they are able to live well.
- Living well in old age can be associated with the capacity to “keep cool”.
- This “senior coolness” renders personal and societal problems manageable.