A Hermeneutic Study of Lived Hope among Older Adults Using Photography as Interview Prompt
Moore, Sharon L.
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PURPOSE Aging around the world is a topic that has received increasing attention over the past decade. As life expectancies increase, efforts are being directed towards understanding and facilitating successful aging. A key ingredient in this process is the role that hope plays in helping people lead meaningful lives as they age. The purpose of this study was to explore how older adults lived hope in their day to day lives. METHOD Hermeneutic photography was used to explore how older adults experience and live hope. A purposive sample of 12 older adults (nine women, three men) aged 65 and older was asked to photograph how they experienced and lived hope in their everyday lives. Participants were asked to select 4-5 photographs that best reflected their "lived hope" and these photographs were used as interview prompts. Participants signed an informed consent. RESULTS An important discovery in this research was to observe that in every situation, the invitation to participate in this study generated reflection about what hope is and how it is lived. Thematic analysis revealed that these study participants lived a philosophy of hope embodied in an attitude that reflected that " in the depths of despair, there's a feeling that there has to be something better". A short audiovisual presentation "The Landscape of Hope" will be used to portray the results of the study. CONCLUSION The camera can capture things at times that are not accessible to researchers such as the events of day to day life, moments of joy, or grief or just greeting the day and how that is done. Although photography has not been frequently used in discussions of research methodology, the author makes a case for the use of photography as a means to capture the description of things or events through image, where at times words escape description.