The increasing ageing population has generated new questions regarding the process of getting older and the expectations about old age. This qualitative study explores imaginaries about old age of Chilean women. It problematizes the (in)visibility of the heterogeneity of old age people. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 professional and non-professional women from 24 to 88 year-old living in Santiago de Chile. The results show differences between social imaginaries of old age (referred to other old people) and individual imaginaries of old age (own old age). Social imaginaries of old age are negative due to: (a) economic precariousness and low pensions, (b) bad quality of the health system, and (c) the loss of autonomy. This contrasts with individual imaginaries of old age, where there are both positive and negative attributes, highlighting health, family ties and strategies to keep healthy and active. The paper concludes that the differences between social and individual imaginaries of old age show: tensions on the definition of old age, heterogeneity within adulthood, changes on the expectations of Chilean women about old age, the questioned role of social security, and the relevance of family and caring at old age.
- imaginario social
- persona mayor