Instruments used to assess quality of life of older adults in African countries: a scoping review

Priscilla Y. A. Attafuah*, Irma H. J. Everink, Ruud J. G. Halfens, Christa Lohrmann, Aaron Abuosi, Jos M. G. A. Schols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


BackgroundOver 60% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa, live in informal settlements (slums) with little or no resources. To be prepared to meet the needs of older people living in slums, it is necessary to know more about their quality of life (QoL). The objective of this review is to identify instruments, which can be used by researchers to assess the QoL of older adults living in African countries, especially those dwelling in slums.MethodsA scoping review was performed using the databases Scopus, PubMed, and ISI Web of Science to retrieve studies published from January 2008 - September 2020. Studies were included if they reported generic QoL instruments, focused on adults with a mean age >= 50 and were conducted in African countries.ResultsIn total, 18 studies were included using 7 unique instruments to measure QoL (EUROHIS-QOL-8, SWLS, WHOQOL-OLD, the WHOQOL-BREF, SF-36, SF-12 and RAND-38). All instruments could be interviewer-administered and had 5-36 items. However, little is known about their psychometric properties (validity and reliability), time-investment and cultural sensitivity of the domains included in the instruments.ConclusionsEven though this review retrieved instruments used to assess QoL of older adults in African countries, there is a need for further research on adjustment and validation of currently existing QoL instruments. In addition, the development and validation of a new instrument which can be used in (illiterate) older populations, living in slums in Africa should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number344
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2021


  • Instruments
  • Quality of life
  • Illiterate older people
  • Scoping review
  • Slum

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