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  • 1.
    Bergström, magdalena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Ageing with Alcohol Problems - Approaching Death and the Need for Life Reviews2014In: 8th International Conference on Cultural Gerontology 10 - 12 April 2014 / [ed] Thomas Scharf and Ricca Edmondson, 2014, p. 115-Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Approaching one´s death evokes a need to retrospectively look back on the lived life in order to construct meaning and understanding (Koestenbaum 1984). Age is significant for how a life review is done. When we are near the close of our life´s journey the paths we have been taken become more visible (Andrews 2008) at the same time as life experiences contribute to understanding since the past is constructed and reconstructed in the light of new experiences in the present (Riessman 2002; Mishler 1995).

    In qualitative intreviews with 19 women and men aged between 55 - 70 who have ongoing long term alcohol problems, recurring themes of life reviews were present in narratives about ageing with alcohol problems. The aim of this presentation is to present these themes which are examples of how middle aged and elderly people retrospectively look back on the past and find that life hasn´t become what they hoped for since alcohol and drinking have taken a too big part. The themes can be described as mouring of the past, acceptance of the past and gratitude to the past. Understanding how the past and present are linked together is necessary in order to fing guidance for the future (Howards 2006). Constructing past experiences from alcohol problems as meaningful can be a future path to reduced alcohol consumption and abstinence.

  • 2.
    Bergström, Magdalena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Ageing with an Alcohol dependency - Living Close to Death2014Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Bergström, Magdalena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Att åldras med långvariga alkoholproblem: hur medelålders och äldre kvinnor och män begripliggör sitt drickande, sig själva och sina liv2018Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this thesis is to describe and analyze how late middle-aged and elderly women and men make sense of what it means to age with long-term drinking problems.

    I have conducted life story-inspired interviews with six women and 13 men who have alcohol problems which have been ongoing for at least 20 years. The analysis of the data has been inspired by thematic narrative analysis. For doing the analysis, I have used theories about meaning making and life stories, as well as theories about how people give meaning to their alcohol use. The interview person’s experiences of their present everyday life are connected to their pasts as well as to their expectations for the future. The interview persons make sense of themselves and their lives in relation to metanarratives that provides them with predefined ways to understand their social reality.

    The interview persons everyday lives can be seen in the light of their past, there the long-term drinking problems have resulted in severe consequences for their social networks, their physical and mental health as well as their financial situations. The alcohol use was often seen as both a solution to, and a cause of, their problems. Considering that most of the interview persons were suffering from severe health problems, several of them did not expect to live much longer. This, together with the fact that they were becoming older, evoked existential questions about how they wanted to spend their remaining time. In order to avoid an alcohol related death, several interview persons had started to question their alcohol use and a few had made actual attempts to overcome their drinking problems. Others had no hope of changing their life situations or cutting down their alcohol use.

    The interview persons are living in a time characterized by metanarratives about active and successful ageing. Research show, however, that drinking problems among late middle-aged and elderly people are increasing. People aging with long-term drinking problems are often overlooked when it comes to getting access to treatment programs for problematic alcohol use, and they seldom fit into organized activities for elderly people. Social interventions are, however, important for making the everyday lives less difficult for people ageing with long-term drinking problems and to provide added support to those who wish to change their drinking habits.

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  • 4.
    Bergström, Magdalena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    "I could've had a better life'': reflective life reviews told by late-middle-aged and older women and men with ongoing long-term alcohol problems2017In: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1455-0725, E-ISSN 1458-6126, Vol. 34, no 1, p. 6-17Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim: This study accounts for how people aged 55-69 with ongoing long-term alcohol problems conceptualize past, present and future.

    Methods: A total of 19 interviews were performed, from which reflective life reviews were obtained and analyzed as narrative life accounts. Three structuring thematic traits were identified: resentment of life, acceptance of life and gratitude towards life.

    Results: The study shows how past, present and future intertwine into meaningful entities incorporating certain governing master narratives about recovery, familiar for example from expert discourse and the AA movement. When it comes to the theme of resentment, the participants articulated disappointment over what life had become and emphasized especially the missed work-related opportunities that the drinking had caused. In the theme of acceptance letting go of the past was viewed as important for creating a sober future. Within the dimension of gratitude the past was seen as a resource for self-development and future recovery.

    Conclusions: How long-term alcohol problems are conceptualized in the long view of a life narrative may have great implications for outlooks of a sober future. A closer look at the social and cultural material incorporated in the stories of this age group is an important task for future research.

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  • 5.
    Bergström, Magdalena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Middle age and elderly persons with long-term alcohol problems and their understandings of their drinking2016Other (Other academic)
  • 6.
    Bergström, Magdalena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Middle age and elderly persons with long-term drinking problems and their understandings of their drinking2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction: The focus is on how women and men between 56 – 69 years of age with ongoing long-term drinking problems make sense of their drinking. The interviewee´s understandings can be seen as their personal lay theory of problematic drinking.

    Methods: The paper is based on interviews with a narrative approach with 19 women and men. The interviewees were clients at the Social Services, the drinking fulfilled the ICD 10 criteria´s for alcohol dependence syndrome and the alcohol problems had lasted between 20 – 40 years. The analysis have been inspired by thematical narrative methods.

    Results: The results are divided into three themes. The first theme is the meaning of drinking where the interviewees describe drinking as a conscious act for handling themselves and their everyday life. In the second theme drinking is explained as a result of circumstances beyond personal control. The third theme is called the incomprehensible drinking there drinking is portrayed as unpredictable with no connections to meaning, motives or circumstances.

    Conclusion: The interviewee’s life courses are of great importance for how they experience present life. Ageing with long-term alcohol problems means that the interviewees deal with probed bodies, feelings of meaningless, severe withdrawal symptoms, strained economy and lack of supportive social networks. These aspects of everyday life are together with the identity of an “alcoholic” and learned “expert knowledge” about powerlessness over alcohol presented as explanations indicating what needs to be supported to encourage reduced drinking or abstinence.

  • 7. Bergström, Magdalena
    Reflections on continuity and change among middle-aged and older people with long-term alcohol problems2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Alcohol problems are on the increase among people aged 50 and older, but treatment to this category is still often a neglected issue in practical social work.  The aim of this presentation is to discuss how middle-aged and older people with ongoing and long-term alcohol problems reflect on continuity and change in later life.

    The paper is based on interviews with a narrative approach with six women and 13 men, between 56 – 69 years of age. Their drinking fulfilled the ICD 10 criteria for alcohol dependence syndrome and the alcohol problems had lasted between 20 – 40 years. The analysis was inspired by thematical narrative methods.

    The way the participants make sense of their drinking is interwoven with their experiences from everyday life. Drinking is portrayed as a way of dealing with health problems, strained financial situations, lack of social networks and structure as well as with withdrawal symptoms. Knowing that continued drinking might lead to death, several participants are, however, reflecting over how they want to live and some are making attempts to overcome their drinking problems.

    The participants illustrates that the past and the present connects to their futures as their fear of death raises existential reflections and prompts attempts to quit drinking. The presence of the past does not necessary mean continuity over life time and older people wish to overcome their problems, even after decades of drinking, hold potentials for changing the life trajectory. The findings challenge prevailing ideas about social work with older people and illustrate how an ambition to change and treat may improve the quality of life of older individuals with social problems.

  • 8.
    Bergström, Magdalena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Äldre med långvariga alkoholproblem uttrycker bitterhet, acceptans och tacksamhet i ny studie2017In: popNADArticle in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [sv]

    Att blicka bakåt och tänka framåt – medelålders och äldre kvinnor och män med långvariga alkoholproblem reflekterar över sina liv i en pågående kvalitativ studie vid Umeå universitet.

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