Daily life for chronically ill oldest old persons

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Aud Moe *
Ingela Enmarker
Ove Hellzén
(*) Corresponding Author:
Aud Moe | aud.moe@hint.no

Abstract

In the past, the study of old age often focused on the losses and problems associated with ageing. In recent times, the focus has been on the positive aspects, such as quality of life, inner strength, and enjoying life. The aims of this study were to highlight the ways in which chronically ill older persons experience the meaning of daily life and to understand what it means to live at home with chronic disease. In-depth interviews were used to illustrate individual experiences. The sample consisted of 13 chronically ill persons, aged 80 to 94 years, living at home and receiving assistance in the form of home nursing care. Data were analyzed using the phenomenological hermeneutical method. After a naïve reading and a structural analysis of the text, we identified three themes: being insufficient, becoming dependent, and enjoying life. The comprehensive understanding suggested that daily life involved bad days, described as illness with dysfunctions, limited energy, and dependency on others. Daily life also had its positive aspects, described as enjoying life. Dignity was threatened by feelings of being a burden to others and was affirmed by experiencing a will to live. It was concluded that bad days with experiences of suffering and good days that provided the older with experiences of enjoying life could help them meet adversity through qualities of resilience that gave meaning to daily life and helped them to think positively in times of greater difficulty.

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