Chambers, Pat (2003) Getting Beyond ‘Mustn't Grumble’ and ‘What Can I Expect At My Age’: A Narrative Approach to Older Women’s Health Stories. In: Narrative, Memory and Health. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 127-139.
Abstract

When asked by researchers to rate their health, many older women reply:
“Mustn’t grumble”. Other older women, who objectively may manifest similar
or fewer health problems but may have internalised ageist and sexist
assumptions, will reply: “What can I expect at my age”. Indeed, the
discrepancy between so-called “objective” measures of health in later life and
lay perspectives is well reported in the literature on old age. However, little
attention has been paid to the way in which these diverse responses arise from
older women’s attempts to make sense of changing health circumstances in the
context of their individual, and collective life course, and growing old in an
ageist society.
This chapter, therefore, seeks to raise such a discussion by drawing on data
derived from recent empirical research on older women and biography
(Chambers, 2002a) to explore the interaction of personal/collective biography,
ageism and current self reported health in the types of ‘health stories’ older
women tell.

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