Abstract / Description of output
To present alternative stories of ageing that countered the prevailing negative stereotypes of older people by interviewing centenarians about their lives. Sixteen healthy U.K. centenarian volunteers were interviewed in their place of residence. A story draft was produced using the interview recording and verbatim transcript. The four researchers collaborated to generate a consensus storyline which was returned to the centenarian and their significant other for their corrections, additions, validation and consent to publish using their own names. Centenarians elected to talk about living as independently as possible, their continuing growth and development and their ongoing close relationships. Difficulties and loss were considered to be 'part of life' indicated by comments such as: 'accept whatever life brings', 'just plod on', 'do what you can to make things better and then move on'. The centenarians present a positive picture of ageing, which counteracts negative stereotypes. Aspects of successful ageing relate to lifestyle and environment. Centenarians have felt 'personalised' through attention gained as part of the storytelling process, therefore older people may feel valued through listening and responding in this way.