What does quality of life mean to older frail and non-frail community-dwelling adults in the Netherlands?

M. T.E. Puts, N. Shekary, G. Widdershoven, J. Heldens, P. Lips, D. J.H. Deeg

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100 Citations (Scopus)


Quality of life is a commonly used but seldom defined concept and there is no consensus on how to define it. The aim of this study was to explore the meaning of quality of life to older frail and non-frail persons living in the community. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 25 older men and women. The audio-taped interviews were transcribed and coded for content and analyzed using the grounded-theory approach. Five themes emerged: (physical) health, psychological well-being, social contacts, activities, and home and neighborhood. Factors that influenced quality of life were having good medical care, finances and a car. Respondents compared themselves mostly to others whose situation was worse than their own, which resulted in a satisfactory perceived quality of life. However, the priorities of the domains of quality of life were observed to change. Moreover, the health of the frail limited the amount and scope of activities that they performed. This led to a lower quality of life perceived by the frail compared to the non-frail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-277
Number of pages15
JournalQuality of life research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • Ageing
  • Frail elderly
  • Older people
  • Qualitative study
  • Quality of life

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