Determinants of quality of life for older people living with a disability in the community

Authors


K. Murphy: e-mail: kathy.murphy@nuigalway.ie

Abstract

Title. Determinants of quality of life for older people living with a disability in the community.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to identify the determinants of quality of life for older people with a disability living in the community and to construct a model to explain these.

Background.  There is no consensus in the literature as to the meaning of quality of life. Few studies have focused on the determinants of quality of life for people with a disability.

Methods.  A grounded theory study was conducted between 2005 and 2006, using semi-structured interviews to collect data. The constant comparative technique was used to analyse data. The sample comprised 122 older people with one of six disabilities: stroke (= 20), arthritis (20), depression (20), vision and hearing deficits (20), learning disability (24) or dementia (18) who were living in the community.

Findings.  A model of the factors that determine quality of life of older people with a disability was developed. ‘Living well’ was conceptualized as the core category. The potential to ‘live well’ was influenced by foundation, mediating and facilitating/constraining factors. Quality of life of older people with a disability was revealed as a complex mix of these factors.

Conclusion.  Quality of life cannot be fully understood unless the totality of factors that have an impact on and shape perceptions are taken into account. The model implies that good support from nurses, a focus on a person’s abilities and access to information and connectedness to others can make a difference and may help people cope in a better way.

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