BACKGROUND: Dizziness in older people is associated with disability and reduced quality of life. Few studies have investigated how daily life is affected from the older person's perspective. Identifying barriers and resources in daily life could guide health care in how to direct efficient interventions. The aim of this study was to explore older persons' experiences of living with chronic dizziness.
METHODS: In this qualitative study seven women aged 74-84 years and six men aged 73-87 years with chronic dizziness (≥3 months) recruited from a primary health care centre in 2012 participated in semi-structured interviews. The interviews were analysed by content analysis.
RESULTS: Interpretation of the interviews resulted in the overall theme "Fighting for control in an unpredictable life" with two themes. The first theme "Striving towards normality" revealed a struggle in daily life in searching for a cure or improvement and finding a way to maintain ordinary life. This process could result in feelings of resignation or adaption to daily life, and factors that supported living with chronic dizziness were described. The second theme "Having a precarious existence" revealed that daily life included being exposed to threats such as a fear of recurrent attacks or of falling, which resulted in an insecure and inflexible way of life. A feeling that symptoms were not taken seriously was described.
CONCLUSIONS: The present study showed that older persons with chronic dizziness have needs that are not met by health care. Despite the fact that frequent contact with health care was described, the respondents described barriers in daily life that led to a restricted, inflexible and insecure daily life. Health care should therefore be individually tailored with focus on aspects of daily life, especially safety aspects. Support should also be continued until the older persons with chronic dizziness have developed coping strategies to gain control of their daily life.
- Medicin och hälsovetenskap (3)