Identity and communication of the elders  

Zaletel M., Kovačev A.
First author's affiliation: Health Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Aging of the population is a growing problem of the contemporary developed societies, to which Slovenia also belongs. Therefore the problem of the elderly people's quality of life and the problem of their care are getting more and more important, since the elders need more social and health services. The aim of the present study was to research two decisive aspects of the self-experience and the behaviour of elderly people, which by now have not been given sufficient attention. These aspects are their identity and their communication. The research concentrated on the elders, who live in the homes for aged people. Communication research was particularly directed to those, whose verbal expression is severely restricted because of the old age degenerative processes. Therefore the non-verbal expressions which were registered by a »check list« were analysed. The identity research was concentrated on three types of identity: individual, social and collective identity. Since this research included self-governed responding to the questionnaire, the subject's verbal comprehension had to be sufficient. The research results proved that important(statistically significant differences) exist among members of both sexes and different age groups in their verbal and non-verbal expression. Important differences also exist among different employees, who care for them in the homes for aged people. Some important differences in individual and collective identity of the elders were also discovered.