The experience of quality of life among older people

Gunilla Borglin, Anna-Karin Edberg, Ingalill Rahm Hallberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Although quality of life has been in the focus of attention for over a decade there are few studies available investigating, how the old and the oldest old experience their quality of life or what quality of life actually means for them? To illuminate this, eleven in-depth interviews were conducted with six women and five men (80+) living in their home. An interpretative hermeneutic phenomenological analysis revealed that quality of life in old age meant a preserved self and meaning in existence. Maintained self-image meant that the older people experienced a coherent life with an intact meaning. How quality of life was valued depended on the meaning the old people attached to the areas of importance as well as how they were evaluated. Additionally, areas not generally included when measuring quality of life became discernible. The meaning of home, how life was viewed, thoughts about death and dying, and telling ones story proved to be areas of importance for their perception of quality of life. Thus, indicating that older people's view of quality of life is more complex than some of today's most commonly used quality of life instruments capture and that quality of life assessment tools needs to measure beyond pure health indices. For nursing care the use of life review in everyday care, and an open way towards existential topics as well as a family oriented care along with preventive work helping people to remain in their own homes may enhance their experience of quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-220
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Nursing (30305)


  • life course
  • meaning in life
  • nursing
  • older people
  • quality of life
  • reminisce
  • significant others
  • the self
  • world


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