Elderly peoples' information behaviour: Accepting support from relatives

Ágústa Pálsdóttir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The paper reports findings from an exploratory study which examines the information behaviour of Icelandic elderly people, who are still living in their own homes, and how their relatives support it. A qualitative study using grounded theory was conducted. A convenience sample was used and open-ended interviews conducted with sixteen elderly people. The participants were aged 70 to 90; nine were women and seven men. Their backgrounds varied as to education, work experience and residence, with some of them living in the capital area of Iceland, some in country towns and some in a rural area. Analysis of the data was conducted as described by Strauss and Corbin (1998). Activity theory and continuity theory were used as a theoretical lens in the study. The findings suggests that the elderly people received important support at information behaviour from their relatives, who thereby made it possible for them to maintain living in their own homes and assisted them in achieving continuity in the activities of their everyday life. Four topics of information that the participants received support about were identified: 1) information about formal support from the state or municipality, 2) health information, 3) information about insurances or finances, and 4) and information about family and friends. Getting used to the feeling of no longer being self-supportive, but in the role of needing support and care from their relatives, was a difficult and could even be a painful experience, for the older people. The strategies that they used to adjust to their situation may lead them to constrain their information behaviour, and as a consequence disrupt the continuity of their everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the University of Iceland Research Fund.


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