(2003) 'Connecting Ethnicity, Agency and Ageing'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 8, no. 4, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/8/4/wray.html>
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Received: 17/11/2003 Accepted: 17/11/2003 Published: 28/11/2003
[T]here is evidence that unless public attention is drawn to minority ageing, neither academic gerontology nor those who control resources and services will pay much heed to racial and ethnic diversity (Blakemore & Boneham, 1994: 137).
'When do you start to get older?' (Interviewer)
'I have to think when I was younger I had too many responsibilities to feel young. I cared for my brothers and sisters and now my own children.' (Bangladeshi woman, aged 58)
'13-25 is young; 25-45 is middle-aged. Older is 45+.' (Bangladeshi participant, aged 61)
'Oh not till I was in my late sixties. When I started being ill and then I felt it 'cause I was very active.' (Hannah, aged 80, British white)
'I always say you are as old as you feel. (...) Sometimes I will look at myself and say 'Gosh girl, you are 60!' And then I'll go outside and I don't tell people my age because they don't believe me.' (Gaynor, aged 60, Dominican)
'How do you feel about your body, as you get older?' (Interviewer)
'What can I say when I look in the mirror in the morning? I think "Uh." No, I think the main thing with me was I have got false teeth and that is...I hate that!' (Penny, aged 65)
'The wrinkles the wrinkles that are coming the grey hair.' (Pauline, in her sixties)
'Overweight! And I keep thinking I must cut down and I haven't the will power you know. No, I think I am a little bit overweight - well I know I am.' (Sarah, aged 65)
'Confidence to tell my family I need time off.' (Indian Sikh participant, aged 62 years)
'She (Rehana) say's you know that she does what she wants to do. She doesn't ...nobody stops her, nobody tells her or...she makes her own decisions. How she makes, when she makes. And if she wants to consult her kids she would, and if she doesn't want to, she won't.' (Rehana, a British Muslim, aged 64, interpreted)
'Oh the lot of them together - work, health, socializing.' (Mary, British/Irish, aged 66)
'My time now is my own. My time is my own now, so I can please myself, I can do what I want, what I like to do, you know? So this is the thing that makes me feel in control, you know.' (Lucy, African Caribbean, aged 73)
'Well I can't control me life, it's God who control it for me. You know, because He has to say when you can go, but if you have God in you and you feel that He can do what you ask Him, then you will get it. Because you have to believe, you know.' (Sonya, British Jamaican, aged 71,)
'I have always liked exercise. I used to play a lot of sport. When I had to give that up I sort of went on to walking. I love being out in the fresh air. I like the achievement. Sometimes it is painful getting up the top of these hills, but it is a real sense of achievement(...) You feel so satisfied when you come back.' (Andrea, aged 61, British white)
'[M]y problems with my blood pressure, and my doctor used to say to me you should exercise and then I started going to the gym and it's [blood pressure] been a bit lower.' (Lavinia, aged 61, Dominican)
'As for the group, what I would really like is that we get this room for ourselves. (...) We have some times when we do physical exercise and if we come in here sometimes, it's a meeting we can't come...sometimes it's this we can't come. So why do we have to have that little box for so many of us to go into while this room is here?' (Focus group with African Caribbean participants)
'Oh, I go to line dancing, yes, and I think it does you better, I think it does you better, you know what I mean? The more moving you do. And I mean I do walk, everywhere I'm going, I do walk. (...) Line dancing is once a week, yes, Thursday night. I enjoy that and I go on my own. Well, a lot of them (friends) started but they gave it up they said she wasn't teaching it properly, she was going too fast. 'Cause it is fast at first (laughs). I am not going to achieve...I mean I'm not going for any medals or to go into competitions or anything. I'm going to keep myself fit.'
'I go dancing a lot, so I don't feel old when I'm dancing because I love it. So that helps to keep me feeling young.' (Freda)
'I felt old last week at the friendship club dinner. I did a dance with F who goes dancing every week. And the second time round my legs ached something shocking. I thought, "I can't go on much longer, I shall have to sit down." Not being used to it. I thought, "I feel old and F seems so sprightly."' (Hillary)
'Last night I was making some display for the church charity and I thought all after the summer I hadn't been to scripture class. My shoulder was hurting and I didn't feel like socializing, so I thought: 'I'm stopping at home.' I was poorly for three weeks...and I made four displays, which I'll take down to them tomorrow. Things like that. I'm a happy person within myself, I'm happy with what life has got to offer.'
'If you feel happy you feel healthy as well. What she is trying to say is the relationship as well. The family. If you've got a good relationship you feel healthy as well. Yes, it's relationship, actually. That does make health.' (Focus group with Indian women, interpreted)
'Yes, all ladies, sometimes they get depressed because they don't get outside.' (Zareena, aged 63)
'Most of them (participants) are saying they would like to improve their health. Also they would like to have enough money to afford to get out more for trips. The most important things to them are their health and getting out more often.' (Focus group with British Pakistani Muslim women, interpreted).
'She's saying she went to the doctor to see him about the arthritis and she explained that she got pain and he said, "Well at your age it's not going to go. There's no cure for it it's only going to get worse."'(Focus group with British Pakistani Muslim women, interpreted)
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