Quality of Life Research

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 263–277 | Cite as

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. DeegEmail author
Original Paper


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.


Ageing Older people Qualitative study frail elderly Quality of life 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. T. E. Puts
    • 1
  • N. Shekary
    • 1
  • G. Widdershoven
    • 2
  • J. Heldens
    • 3
  • P. Lips
    • 4
  • D. J. H. Deeg
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.LASA, Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine (EMGO Institute)VU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Health Sciences, Department of Health Care Studies, section of Healthcare Ethics and PhilosophyMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Research Methodology, Faculty of Social SciencesRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of EndocrinologyVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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