Quality of life is quality of life is quality of life : the views of older people ageing in place
Hambleton, Penny (Penelope)
Quality of life is a concept that has been subject to considerable academic gaze from mainly a quantitative perspective. Qualitative descriptions have been limited to conceptualising quality of life from a health perspective. Little attention has been paid to understanding quality of life as it is experienced, perceived and interpreted by older people. Still missing in the great quality of life debate is the voice of older people. This is an interesting predicament considering the assumptions made about population ageing and ageing in place. This phenomenological study breaks the silence on the quality of life experience of older recipients of home based services by exploring in particular the quality of life experience of nine older people who live at home and access low level home support services (between one and three hours of home support per week for six months or more) in a selected locale in New Zealand. It also sheds light on the role home support plays at the "lower" end of health resource allocation to elderly recipients' quality of life. As well as providing valuable insights on elders' perceptions of current national policy that advocates for ageing in place. Through face to face interviews using a semi-structured format this study found that while quality of life as a notion remains evasive to academics and professionals its meaning is well understood and easily expressed by elders themselves. Giving meaning to quality of life for the elders in this study were six key features: the good people in their lives, taking care of day to day life, keeping healthy, living with loss, thinking of the future and being the age that they are. They confirmed that quality of life is a dynamic concept made up of multiple interconnected realities that are both positive and negative in nature but where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As an experience quality of life was influenced by events over the life course and viewed relative to other older people's lives. Home helpers made a vital contribution to these elders' quality of life experience but ageing in place as a policy construct extended no further than the current provision of low level home support they accessed. The implications that can be drawn from the findings of this study are: • That older people who access low level home support will do better when health professionals and others who are part of the formal support systems appreciate the meaning of quality of life as it is experienced and defined by elders themselves. • That low level home support services are a vital service component for ageing in place which contributes to the quality of life experience elderly recipients. • That elders receiving low level home support are not in need of a rehabilitative model of support. • That older people be informed at the point of low level home support service entry or at any other point of the options available to remain ageing in place.
Advisor: Keeling, Sally; McKenzie, Margaret
Degree Name: Master of Health Sciences
Degree Discipline: Gerontology
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis