Reasons for living among older male Chinese residents of veterans’ homes


Y-F. Tsai:


tsai y-f., wong t.k.s., ku y-c. & liu w-c. (2012) Reasons for living among older male chinese residents of veterans’ homes. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(9), 1978–1987.


Aim.  The purpose of this paper was to report a study of reasons for living among older male residents of veterans’ homes in Taiwan.

Background.  Suicide rates are high for older persons worldwide. Little is known about protective factors against suicide among elderly Chinese populations.

Method.  A qualitative descriptive design was used. Two veterans’ homes, one government paid and one self-paid, were randomly selected from 18 institutions throughout Taiwan. Participants were 36 residents (≥65 years) who had expressed suicidal ideas in the past 6 months but had never shown suicidal behaviours. Data were collected in individual interviews from 2006 to 2007 and analysed by content analysis.

Results.  Five major themes related to reasons for living were identified: fear of death, comparative improvement in health condition, maintaining self-dignity, family related concerns and concerns for staff.

Conclusion.  Fear of death, maintaining self-dignity and family related concerns are similar to reasons for living found in western studies, but not comparatively better health and concerns for staff. These differences may be due to our sample being veterans’ home residents rather than community-dwelling elders and residents’ perceived social support from staff. Since most healthcare providers are nurses and nurses’ aides, they may consider promoting/maintaining older people’s health, promoting their self-dignity, and strengthening relationships with family members and staff to strengthen protective factors against suicide in older Chinese/Asians. Given the aging population worldwide, nurses should become aware of protective factors related to suicide among older people to improve care for this population.