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Growing older in the context of needing geriatric assessment: a qualitative study

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AIM: The number of older adults will increase worldwide in the next 30 years, with many expected to develop chronic diseases and consequently require additional medical assessments and adequate care. The aim of this study was to describe how a group of older adults who need geriatric assessment experience growing older.

METHODOLOGY: A qualitative study was performed. The empirical data consisted of qualitative in-depth interviews with eight older persons referred to geriatric assessment (median age 76, range 65-86). The interviews were analysed based on Giorgi's descriptive phenomenological methodology.

RESULTS: The results led to an overall essence and five themes. The five themes were identified: (i) considerations to avoid weakness, (ii) compensation for the inability to perform certain activities, (iii) aides - a symbol of freedom or limitation, (iv) lifestyle considered being particularly significant and (v) considerations about the end of life as a component of growing older. The essence was defined as: illness essential for the experience of growing older and pointed to the experience of growing older that highlighted that experiencing illnesses and limitations served as reminders of their advancing age.

CONCLUSION: Growing older while in need of comprehensive geriatric assessment led to participants feeling they were no longer able to do the same things, they used to do. Consequently, compensation became an essential part of adaption to the altered situation. Aides that helped to overcome limitations in every daily life had the status of either creating freedom or being limiting in things they wished to do. Considerations about lifestyle were focused on housing and change of dwelling. This also led to thoughts about the future and end of life. Additional research regarding accommodations in older age is warranted to offer the best solutions for older people.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)489-98
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 45643514