• gerontological nursing;
  • gerotranscendence;
  • nursing intervention;
  • older people

Aim.  This paper reports a study whose aims were to introduce the theory of gerotranscendence to a group of older people; to give participants in the group an opportunity to discuss their ageing process; to study how participants described their ageing in relation to the theory; and to gather participants’ opinions about discussing their ageing in a group.

Background.  The theory of gerotranscendence states that human development is a process extending into old age. Guidelines had previously been derived for its practical use in the care of older people, aiming to promote their development towards gerotranscendence.

Methods.  A qualitative descriptive approach was taken, and older people were invited to participate in group sessions at a day centre. At the sessions, participants discussed their ageing, and a video presentation about the theory of gerotranscendence was shown at one of the sessions. They were encouraged to discuss the description of the ageing process presented in the video and to link this to their own experiences of growing old. The discussion in each session was tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed and categorized using qualitative methods. The data were collected in 2002.

Findings.  All women had an experience of ageing that was in some way in line with the theory's description, and they more or less agreed that this description of ageing was in accordance with their own ageing. They considered that it was interesting and fruitful to discuss ageing in a group. They felt that introduction of the view of ageing offered by the theory of gerotranscendence was beneficial because it gave them a more positive view of ageing which also allowed them to be as they were.

Conclusion.  It is possible to arrange this type of group activity for older people, resulting in possibilities to use aspects of the theory of gerotranscendence as an intervention in gerontological nursing.