The oldest old: patterns of adjustment and life experiences

Margareta Carlsson, Stig Berg, Claes-Göran Wenestam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


A qualitative method was used to study the life experiences and the adjustment to very old age of a non-institutionalized population of 129 85-year-olds living in Gothenburg, Sweden. In-depth interviews were analyzed and categorized and seven patterns of adjustment emerged: Self-Realizing, Mature Aging, Adapting, Dependent, Resignedly Accepting, Despairing and Withdrawing. Additionally, a coping strategy—ritualization of time and occupations—was revealed in the interviews. These results reflect the heterogeneity among this age group and indicate that the subjective reality should be seriously considered both in further research and in the care of the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages7
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Nursing (30305)
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary (50901)


  • Elderly
  • everyday life
  • heterogeneity
  • life review
  • qualitative method


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