Quality of life from the perspectives of older people

Gabriel, Zahava and Bowling, Ann (2004) Quality of life from the perspectives of older people. Ageing and Society, 24(5), pp. 675-691. ISSN (print) 0144-686X


This paper report results from a national survey of quality of life (QoL), based on 999 people aged 65 or more years living in private households in Britain. The study produced both qualitative and quantitative interview data. The 999 survey respondents were interviewed in their own homes with a semi-structured survey instrument, and 80 were followed-up in greater depth at one and two years after the baseline interview. The material from the in-depth interviews is presented here. The main QoL themes that emerged were: having good social relationships, help and support; living in a home and neighbourhood that is perceived to give pleasure, feels safe, is neighbourly and has access to local facilities and services including transport; engaging in hobbies and leisure activities (solo) as well as maintaining social activities and retaining a role in society; having a positive psychological outlook and acceptance of circumstances which cannot be changed; having good health and mobility; and having enough money to meet basic needs, to participate in society, to enjoy life and to retain one's independence and control over life. The results have implications for public policy, and supplement the growing body of knowledge on the composition and measurement of quality of life in older age.

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