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Grenier, A. , (2005). The contextual and social locations of older women’s experiences of disability and decline. Journal of Aging Studies, 19(2), 131-146. doi:10.1016/j.jaging.2004.07.003.
Publication year: 2005

Understandings of disability and decline within health and social care seem to focus mainly on the bodies and function of older persons. However, the way that older people’s experiences of disability and decline are fixed into rigid functional classifications such as ‘frailty’ are problematic. Drawing on the narratives of twelve diverse older English-speaking women in Montreal, Canada, I will argue that older women’s experiences are more connected with the contexts within which they experience disability and decline, and the social locations they bring to these experiences, than the functional limitations of their bodies. Older women’s stories – particularly those related to the home and the bus – reveal the clash between dominant understandings of ‘frailty’ and older women’s contextual and social experiences of disability and decline; expose tensions within health and social care practices; and highlight the potential which exists in both context and social location.