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Quality of life among older people in Sweden receiving help from informal and/or formal helpers at home or in special accommodation

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The present study describes and compares quality of life (QoL) and factors which predict QoL among people aged 75 years and over who receive help with activities of daily living (ADLs) from formal and/or informal helpers. The subjects were living at home or in special accommodation in Sweden. A postal questionnaire was sent to a randomly selected and age-stratified sample of 8500 people. The response rate was 52.8% (n = 4337), and 1247 people [mean age (± SD) = 86.4 ± 5.9 years] received help and indicated who helped them with ADLs. The findings suggest that a greater age, being a woman, being a widow/widower, a higher number of health-related complaints, needing more help with ADLs and a lower QoL were found among those receiving help in special accommodation in comparison with those receiving help at home. The extent of help was highest among those receiving help in special accommodation. Having help with ADLs every day at home indicated having help from both informal and formal helpers, while respondents receiving help from only informal or only formal helpers received the smallest amount of help with ADLs. A need for greater help with ADLs, and a higher number of self-reported diseases and complaints determined low QoL, whilst a social network (contact with more than three people) and a greater age determined high QoL. However, who the helpers were did not have a significant influence on QoL; it was the extent of help with ADLs that influenced QoL negatively and the density of the social network that influenced QoL positively.
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Keywords: formal help; health-related quality of life; informal help; living at home; living in special accommodation; quality of life

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Nursing, Unit for Caring Sciences, Lund University

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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