Views of older people in the Netherlands on wellbeing: A Q-methodology study

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Population ageing and restricted budgets result in the need for an efficient allocation of scarce resources in care services for older people. As these services tend to address more than only health, diverse wellbeing measures have been developed to assess their benefits in economic evaluations. These measures are grounded in research on wellbeing of older people and its determinants. Little is known about possible heterogeneity in this context and the extent to which wellbeing measures cover the aspects of wellbeing that are most important to older people with different views on wellbeing. We conducted a Q-methodology study between December 2016 and October 2017 to investigate the variety in views among people aged 65 and older in the Netherlands on what is important to their wellbeing. A purposive sample of 53 respondents ranked 34 opinion statements according to importance to their wellbeing and explained their ranking during a follow-up interview. Data were analysed using by-person factor analysis to identify common patterns in the rankings of the statements. Five distinct views were extracted in which different aspects were considered important: (I) health, financial security and a life partner; (II) family, support and physical functioning (III); autonomy, mental health and helping others; (IV) social contacts, support, mental health and religion; and (V) a life partner, social contacts, living environment and adaptation. This heterogeneity in views of older people on what constitutes wellbeing supports the use of person-centered approaches in care services for older people. Arguably, (evaluations of) policies and services for older people should take this plurality into consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112535
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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