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The importance of sources of meaning in life of community dwelling psychologically frail older people

Lieve Josée Hoeyberghs (Faculty of Education, Health and Social Work, Hogeschool Gent, Gent, Belgium) (Department of Educational Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)
Emily Verté (Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium) (Department of Educational Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)
Dominique Verté (Department of Educational Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)
Jos M.G.A. Schols (Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Nico De Witte (Faculty of Education, Health and Social Work, Hogeschool Gent, Gent, Belgium) (Department of Education, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 15 April 2019

Issue publication date: 23 May 2019

131

Abstract

Purpose

Psychological frailty adds most to overall feelings of frailty, but is often neglected, although meaning in life is important for psychological well-being. The purpose of this paper is to explore the sources of meaning in life within psychologically frail older people.

Design/methodology/approach

Data (n= 16,872) generated from the Belgian Ageing Studies were collected, using the Comprehensive Frailty Assessment Instrument and the Sources of Meaning Profile (SOMP-R) instrument. Psychometric properties of the SOMP-R were explored using factor and reliability analysis and one-way-ANOVA analysis were used to asses mean differences.

Findings

Financial security, meeting basic needs and personal relations play an important role as sources of meaning in life. Moreover, the SOMP-R showed excellent psychometric properties.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the cross-sectional design of this study, evolution in time and causal links could not be assessed.

Practical implications

The findings of this study emphasize that sources of meaning in life are relevant and can be assessed using the SOMP-R upon which individually tailored care plans can be developed. The results show that, meaning in life as such plays an important role for psychologically frail older people. As a consequence, this offers insights to support these older people. Caregivers and policymakers might therefore take these results into account. Guarantee and/or follow up a frail individual’s financial security, assessing and enabling one’s personal relationships and meeting their basic needs are very important when taking care of psychologically frail older individuals.

Social implications

Besides the practical implications, the social inclusion of psychologically frail older people seems to be relevant.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the association between meaning in life and psychological frailty in later life is not yet investigated. Further the findings of this study emphasize that sources of meaning in life are relevant and can be assessed using the SOMP-R upon which individually tailored care plans can be developed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Ethical statements: the authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article. The research of the D-SCOPE consortium, commissioned by the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology, is embedded in the Strategic Basic Research (IWT-140027-SBO). The authors especially thank the older volunteers for their commitment and enthusiasm. The authors acknowledge the provincial and local governments for their support and cooperation throughout the research.

Citation

Hoeyberghs, L.J., Verté, E., Verté, D., Schols, J.M.G.A. and De Witte, N. (2019), "The importance of sources of meaning in life of community dwelling psychologically frail older people", Working with Older People, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 65-76. https://doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-01-2019-0001

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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