Social relationship network and communication at old age

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Hayat Boz

Abstract

Abstract
Old age is a period when the social environment of the elderly person shrinks due to reasons such as loss of social role,
health, decline of income and empty nest situation. This research was carried out in order to determine, how elderly people
use the social relationship networks and communication with their environment, to satisfy the needs for establishing
relationships with other people, acceptance and belonging. In this study, interview technique was used as qualitative data
collection method and four female and six male participants aged 65 and over were interviewed. Questions about
socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, daily life activities and obstacles, social acquaintances, what kind of people
they wanted to socialise with or not, their preferences in communication content, who they had been in conflict with in and
why, were asked to participants. Among the daily activities, worshiping, listening to radio and watching television were done
without gender difference, and it was found that not being able to 􀍚visit neighbours􀍛 was in the first place among the
activities that could not be done, but this was also prevented by their spouse, the daughter-in-law or the children. Their
children and grandchildren were their main social acquaintances, and these were followed by relatives. They were mainly
talking about the current events and politics. They preferred to talk to people with similar personality traits and people
whom were generally acceptable to society. They, mainly, had conflicts with their daughters, spouse, daughter in-laws and
siblings about not doing what they wanted or being obstructed about the things they wanted to do and have financial issues.
Participants who had lost their spouse and participants who lost their peers felt loneliness and felt sad for being lonely. The
participants felt health was the bad aspect of being old; and being able to worship as they wanted to and getting respect
were good aspects of being old. The worry about the future was determined to be individual in some participants and
general in others.
Keywords: Social relations in old age, communication conflicts in old age, communication content in old age.

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