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

Lieve J. Hoeyberghs, Emily Verte, Dominique Verte, Jos Schols, Nico De Witte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
JournalWorking with Older People
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this