The Meaning and the Role of Clothing for Elderly Women

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 10:00 AM
Room: Booth 40
Distributed Paper
Shizuko KATAGIRI , Kagoshima University, Japan
The aim of this research is to explore the meaning and the role of clothing for old women by analyzing their life stories. This means to investigate not only psychological but also sociological effects. 

    In general almost all elderly women have plural diseases in various levels. For example some old women need to be cared in nursing home or hospital, and the others don’t need but often go to hospitals from their own houses. We call the former type “dependent elders” such as dementia or bedridden people because of needing professional care and cure, conversely the latter one “independent elders” because of ability of social contribution as the volunteers in many kinds of fields.

    But even if which type they are categorized, it would be desirable to wear their favorite clothing. The reason is that it would be helpful for them to maintain their Quality of Life (QOL) as a result of thinking positive and continuing to engage their enjoyable activities. To investigate this issue, this research would emphasize the subjective recognition and experiences of their own clothing, and not the objective beauty of appearance and fashion trends.

    Intensive data were collected as life stories of 7 elderly women including both types, “dependent elderly women” in nursing home and “independent” who had engaged the volunteer at medical agency. The interviewer asked all the interviewees to arrange some favorite pictures during their lives. These pictures helped to remember their clothing including some episodes and memories in their youth.

    As a result of content analysis, it is clear that “the meanings of clothing” and “the role of clothing,” for dependent and independent elderly women, are “Self-expression” and “the switch of identity”. It appears that the satisfied and favorite clothing as social body assist their lives when they confront some hardships.