This article discusses well-being in old age by drawing on findings from participatory research carried out by older co-researchers exploring how older people learn to sustain their own and others' well-being. It considers the way the in which research based in older people's experience can inform ethical policy and practice capable of delivering well-being. It critiques individualized notions of well-being and provides a counter- perspective based in relational understandings of what it is to be human drawn from feminist care ethics. This offers a different way of understanding the significance of social relationships and networks to older people's well-being from that offered by a focus on ‘community' which has emerged in the communitarian discourses of the UK Coalition government. It illustrates this with older people's accounts of well-being highlighting the ways in which relationships with people, places and spaces are negotiated with ageing. Finally it argues that this relational conceptualization of well-being embodies values and the ethical dimensions of responsibility based in lived experiences. This provides the basis for alternative values-based policies and practices which we need to distinguish from the instrumental expression of social relationships and ‘community' within communitarian discourses.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethics and Social Welfare 2014, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17496535.2014.932419.
- Older People
- Relational Well-being
- Feminist Care Ethics
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- School of Applied Social Science - Principal Research Fellow
- Centre for Arts and Wellbeing
- Care, Health and Emotional Wellbeing Research and Enterprise Group