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Article Title

The Midlife Client

Authors

Patricia Evans

Abstract

This case study explored the midlife physical, emotional, and role changes or a small sample of women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to determine how they cope with midlife change, to examine their aging experience within the LDS Church community, and to discover how the LDS faith and church community helped them through the challenges of midlife. According to a qualitiative design, the researcher implemented in-depth interviews with 10 LDS women from three cohorts: ages 35-44, 45-54, 55-65. Three theoretical perspectives were used to frame the study: feminist, social constructionist, and narrative. A qualitiative matrix was developed to guide the analysis and reporting process. The findings suggested that the younger cohorts contended with physical and emotional issues such as hot flashes and moodiness. Role change, such as the one that occurs when the children leave home, did not appear to affect the women. They viewed midlife as a part of the continuum of life, and all three cohorts of women reported personal growth in their confidence and assertiveness. The LDS Church community was a resource, enabling all of the women to feel accepted and useful for their wisdom and experience. With the increase life expentancy of women and the large number of "baby boomer" women now entering midlife, the issues surrounding aging may be reflected in problems presented by a practicioner's clientele. To meet the needs of an aging female clientele, practitioners are encouraged to understand the physical, emotional, and role changes that occur at midlife and to view presenting problems within the framework of the midlife transition.

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