Quality of life in the elderly: a subjective concept

Considering that life expectancy has become increasingly higher, various studies have been conducted in order to improve the quality of life of the elderly. This study aimed to learn the opinions of the elderly living in a medium-size city in the state of São Paulo, Brazil with regard to the meaning of quality of life, by using an open question which was included as part of a population survey concerning lifestyle and quality of life. Such question was analyzed by means of the Content Analysis Method, and the frequencies of the categories obtained were later calculated. Frequencies were grouped according to the Method of Ward and the elderly were then grouped according to the k-means method. Results showed the existence of three groups according to the definition of quality of life: the first valued affection and family; the second prioritized leading a pleasant life based on the concepts of modernity; and the third could be summarized as consisting of elderly individuals who identified quality of life as putting into practice their life ideals. It is suggested that actions aimed at improving the quality of life of the elderly be implemented by taking into account the magnitudes and differences of each group.

Elderly; Aging; Aged; Lifestyle; Quality of life

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