Type of Document Dissertation Author Barrington, Catherine Alexandra Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-04082008-101658 Title Exploring the Nature and Meaning of Art with Older Adults in Hospice Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Art Education, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Dave Gussak Committee Chair Linda Vinton Committee Member Marcia Rosal Committee Member Penny Orr Committee Member Keywords
- Death Education
- Art Education
- Art Therapy
Date of Defense 2008-03-05 Availability unrestricted AbstractFor some older adults in hospice, confronting end-of-life issues is frightening. It can also be alarming for loved ones and family members. Gerontologists recommend that people who are confronting death tell stories about their lives to reveal and create meanings for themselves. Hospice team members encourage individuals to express their thoughts and feelings to enhance and solidify meaning in one’s life.
This qualitative study utilizes reminiscing and creativity as a way for older adults in hospice to confront end-of-life issues, strengthen relationships and solidify meaning in life. The encompassing research question asks “How does art therapy help older adults in hospice express the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of one’s life?” Two other questions are asked, “In the context of hospice, what is the nature and meaning communicated by dying individuals, their loved ones and family members using reminiscing and art-making?, and “In the context of hospice, what is the nature and meaning that the created art object(s) has to the older adult, their loved ones and family members who participated in the art-making experience?
Interviews were conducted with three family units. Each family unit consisted of an older adult in hospice and one of their loved ones. Interviews revealed stories about highlighted events, experiences and achievements, and an illustration was created to depict and symbolize that story. The final meeting consisted of a collaborative collage-making project depicting many of the highlighted stories, events and experiences of the older adult in hospice.
The data was analyzed using grounded theory, which is also known as the constant comparative method. The results reinforce that older adults in hospice, as well as loved ones, benefited from reminiscing and creatively expressing expression, and hence it is a useful tool for individuals to solidify meaning and strengthen relationships as one confronts end-of-life issues.
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