Quality of Life as Perceived by Older Persons with Chronic Illness in Rural and Urban Shandong, China

Quality of Life as Perceived by Older Persons with Chronic Illness in Rural and Urban Shandong, China

[Abstract] This qualitative study aimed to understand the meaning of quality of life to older persons with chronic illness in China, and to compare the perceptions of those living in rural and urban areas. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 older Chinese, half residing in urban and half in rural areas in Shandong province. Through an inductive coding and categorization process, the study identified two shared domains of quality of life among participants: basic necessities and family wellness. Two additional domains, physical health and mood and spirit, were endorsed predominantly by urban participants. Entertainment and leisure comprised a quality of life domain for urban elders only. Cohort experience and cultural values likely played a role in participants’ shared beliefs about quality of life, whereas differences in socioeconomic context may account for differences in rural and urban conceptions. An implication of the findings is that for older Chinese with chronic illness, developing and sustaining programs to meet basic needs is critical to their quality of life.

[Keywords] Aging in China, subjective well-being, urban-rural, frail elderly