Living in one’s home as an Acadian, Francophone older woman in rural New Brunswick communities: a phenomenological study

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University of New Brunswick


This dissertation presents the findings of research about the everyday lives of sixteen women aged between 75 and 93 who live in Francophone, rural communities in New Brunswick. The study addressed the question: How do Acadian, Francophone women, aged 75 years and older, who live in a rural, Francophone region of New Brunswick speak about their experiences of their everyday lives? To deconstruct the negative discourse about older people that too often describes the aging population as a burden, this study adopted the posture of constructivism to better understand participants’ lived experiences. Intersectionality provided an understanding of the intersection of being an older woman living in a rural Francophone area. Phenomenology proved to be a good way to tap into the lived experiences of these women. The dissertation demonstrates that even though the participants live in a rural area, and, moreover, in a house in need of repairs, they do not see themselves as frail and destitute older women. In the interviews, they consistently defended their choice to remain in their rural community, because, often, there is someone to remind them that they are too old to stay where they choose to live. Although they understand that they might have to leave their home in the future, participants insisted that for now they are happy. This dissertation contributes to our understanding of how older Francophone rural women defend their lives from the insistence of others that they would be better off living elsewhere and the contradictions in their discussion that result. In addition, it introduces the concept of “underground support” that identifies support participants both give and receive that is likely invisible to others.