Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 435–457 | Cite as

A Conceptual Model of Quality of Life for Older People in Residential Care Facilities in South Africa

  • Lizanlé van Biljon
  • Vera Roos
  • Karel Botha


This study explored older people’s construction of quality of life (QoL) whilst living in a residential care facility. Six domains related to QoL were derived from a larger qualitative inquiry that employed multiple data collection techniques (interviews, focus groups, journals and the Mmogo-method®) with 54 older people living in residential care facilities in South Africa. The findings of the study were presented to 19 older people who participated in the initial stages of data collection and availed themselves for further involvement. Based on Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA) procedures, participants were requested to judge cause and effect relationships between the six domains, namely: spirituality, health, meaningfulness, sense of place, autonomy and relationships. The IQA approach yielded a conceptual model which described older people’s QoL. QoL was presented as a complex system comprising two feedback systems, i.e. (i) the physical ability to live meaningfully facilitated through spirituality; and (ii) intra-personal meaningfulness in the environmental context. The causal influences between the two feedback systems seemed to have an effect on the relational aspects of older people’s lives. Theoretical and methodological contributions emerged from this study. The article concludes with recommendations and practical implications of the conceptual model.


Quality of life Older people Interactive qualitative analysis Residential care facilities General systems theory Conceptual model 



The author would like to express gratitude to Drs Northcutt and McCoy for valuable advice on the IQA method.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lizanlé van Biljon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vera Roos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karel Botha
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.North-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  2. 2.Faculty Health SciencesAfrican Unit for Transdisciplinary Health ResearchPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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