School of Nursing
Mary Ann Thurkettle
older men, gerontology, living alone, phenomenology
The purpose of this study was to uncover older men's experience of living alone. This study was pursued because much of the literature reports that older men who live alone face the highest risk of death, mental illness, physical disability, and social isolation in our country. Based upon this literature, nurses appeared to be ignoring the needs of this vulnerable population. Using Giorgi's phenomenological method, 14 men 60 years and older who lived alone were interviewed and asked about their experience living alone. In the data analysis, the themes of self-growth, self-determination, structure, balance and sense of purpose emerged. Essentially, the experience of living alone for older men means the opportunity for self-growth and the freedom of self-determination, while maintaining structure, balance, and sense of purpose. This study demonstrated that living alone is not necessarily a contributing factor to the health difficulties this population faces; other factors, in addition to living alone, must contribute to their vulnerabilities. Using this information, nurses are better able to determine how to provide care for older men who live alone. Furthermore, future nursing research is needed to further identify those factors which do contribute to the vulnerabilities of older men who live alone.
Yetter, L. (2008). The Experience of Older Men Living Alone: A Phenomenological Perspective (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1391