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Meaning in life? Make it as bearable, enjoyable and good as possible!: a qualitative study among community‐dwelling aged adults who receive home nursing in the Netherlands

Publication of Innovations in Care

A. Machielse, S.H.A. Hupkens, M.J.B.M. Goumans, P. Derkx | Article | Publication date: 11 July 2020
The population of adults ageing in place and using home‐care services is growing rapidly worldwide. Meaning in life (MiL) of this group of clients is relevant for healthcare and social workers. MiL is associated with many positive outcomes, but can be challenging for aged persons. Objective of this study was to explore MiL in daily life of community‐dwelling aged persons who receive homecare. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was followed. Three waves of semi‐structured interviews took place among 24 clients of a home‐care organisation in the Netherlands between November 2015 and July 2018. Photo‐elicitation was part of the interview procedure. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and dialogues enhanced understanding. Findings show that participants derived meaning from self, others, environment and living. The process of retaining MiL involved maintaining, adapting and discovering. We conclude that community‐dwelling aged adults can draw MiL from many sources. Retaining MiL is interwoven in everyday life and requires continuous adaptation to ever‐changing life conditions during later life. Although relevant general themes were sketched in this paper, the importance of each, and the connections between them, vary and come to light at the individual level. The themes in this paper and the cases in the appendices provide insights that may help professionals recognise MiL in their work. Besides listening to the stories of aged adults, person‐centred interventions should support aged adult's strategy to retain MiL.

Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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