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Handling the “People Who Are Trying to Get to You”: Incidents With Troublesome Visitors Reported by Older Women Living Alone

Porter, Eileen J. PhD; Lasiter, Sue MS

doi: 10.1097/01.ANS.0000271102.57290.27

Older women have been viewed as vulnerable and fearful of crime, but little is known about how they try to reduce the risk of intrusion relative to encounters with troublesome visitors at home. During a phenomenological study of the home care experience, 6 women (aged 82–93 years) reported such an encounter with someone they knew. Our purpose was to describe intentions relative to encounters and the relevant personal-social context. Because the women were trying to keep a particular person at arm's length, the new concept of focused fear was proposed. Six contextual elements were discerned and understood as facets of vulnerability.

School of Nursing, University of Missouri-Columbia.

Corresponding author: Eileen J. Porter, PhD, S424 School of Nursing, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO 65211 (e-mail:

This work was supported by project R29 NR04364-01, NIH/NINR, awarded to Dr Eileen J. Porter.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.