Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




R.A. Brymer




The primary focus of the thesis" is a study of the hospitalized elderly's future time perspectives. The concept is defined as the elderly person's attitude towards his future. Two distinct attitudes are analyzed: a high future time perspective (FTP) in which the person sees a future for himself, and a low future time perspective (FTP) in which the person sees no future for himself but only a time for waiting until death.

Although the concept is virtually absent from existing gerontological literature, it can be related to the "literature on awareness of death. A review of such authors also points to relevant factors possibly affecting future time perspective.

The empirical study shows that an elderly person can have either a high or a low FTP while at the same time can also have the knowledge of his impending death. However FTP is unrelated to numerous demographic and background characteristics as well as to psychological disengagement and the life-review process. It is positively correlated with planning for the future, perception of how tightly time is scheduled in the present as compared with the past, and perception of FTP now as compared with FTP in the past. It is also related to specific social interaction and social activity variables. Analysis of the data reveals that a person with relatively low involvement inside The Hospital world and relatively high involvement ip the Non-Hospital world is likely to have a high FTP. A person with relatively low involvement in the Non-Hospital world, regardless of his level of involvement in The Hospital world, is likely to have a low FTP. A person with a relatively high involvement in both The Hospital and the Non-Hospital worlds is just as likely to have a low FTP as a high FTP. The implications for those studying awareness of death and for hospital administrations is illustrated.

Over half of the total sample is classified as "senile t and characterized as irrational, i.e. not engaging in meaningful interaction. Following Schutz, they are interpreted as living in different realities from most others and conversations with them attempt to establish universes of discourse in order to enter their realities. These conversations are made meaningful through an analysis in terms of sociability. Such an analysis results in suggesting sociability as the approach for rehabilitating the senile elderly.

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