, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 179-190

The use of focus groups in evaluating quality of life components among elderly Chinese people

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Abstract

In Taiwan, to measure the quality of life (QOL) of elderly Chinese, one must rely on instruments developed in other Chinese or Western populations and not specifically for the elderly. The purpose of this study is to understand the components of QOL for elderly Chinese from Taiwan living in residential homes or in their communities. Forty-four elderly men and women divided into six focus groups were interviewed on video tape and the resultant recording was analyzed qualitatively by six independent researchers. The study yielded 15 QOL domains grouped into six dimensions: physical health (physical well-being, impact of illness, medical care), psychological health (mood states, life attitude and retrospection, philosophy of living, self-efficacy), social function (connectedness, exercise and leisure activities, social activities and services), living environment (living environment and arrangements, institutional factors), economic status, and religion and death (religion, death). For elderly Chinese in Taiwan, positive and negative life domains are equally important in the perception of life quality; person-environment interaction is a major consideration in the evaluation of QOL; family ties are an important component of QOL; traditional Chinese beliefs exert a positive influence on perceived QOL; and social functioning and vitality have a different meaning in Chinese compared to Western cultures.