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aging, disability, gerontology, health policy, women's health



  1. Harrison, Tracie Culp PhD, RN


This is a report of a hermeneutic phenomenological study of the meaning of aging for women with childhood-onset disabilities due to the effects of paralytic polio. Twenty-five women aged 55-65 years were interviewed 2 to 4 times regarding their life course experiences and the meaning they assigned to aging. Field notes, audiotaped interviews, life course charts, and demographics were used in thethematic analysis that produced 5 themes: Bodies Change, Disrupted Meaning, The Unpredictibility of Aging, Slowing Down, and Changing Perspective. Overall, the findings indicate that the experiences of disability due to the result of paralytic polio could not be separated from the experiences of aging, which ultimately led the author to question policies that distribute and fund benefits based on age and disability status without an understanding of the varied experiences of women with disabilities.