Meaning of death: an exploration of perception of elderly in a Bangladeshi Village
Publisher© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York
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CitationJoarder, T., Cooper, A., & Zaman, S. (2014). Meaning of Death: An Exploration of Perception of Elderly in a Bangladeshi Village. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 29(3), 299–314. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10823-014-9237-6
The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of meaning of death among the elderly in a Bangladeshi community, and to understand how the meaning of death affects one’s overall well-being. Understandings of death were explored through the explanations respondents provided on the journey of the soul during lifetime and the afterlife, concepts of body-soul duality, and perceived “good” and “bad” deaths. The relationship to well-being was expressed in terms of longevity, anxiety/acceptance of death, and preferred circumstances for death. Seven in-depth interviews and one informal discussion session provided the bulk of the data, while Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) tools, including daily routines and body mapping, supplemented our findings. Elderly members of the community had very specific ideas about the meaning of death, and provided clear explanations regarding the journey of the soul, drawing on ideas of body-soul duality to substantiate claims. Due to long coexistence fusion of Hindu and Muslim ideas around death was found. Anxiety/fear of death was associated with some secular issues, on the contrary the perception of longevity was found linked with spirituality. Insights revealed from this study of subtle differences in the perceptions regarding issues around death may aid the policy makers develop effective end-of-life interventions.