Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2005 , Vol 8, Issue 4
1Celal Bayar Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Halk Sağlığı Anabilim Dalı, MANİSA
2İzmir İl Sağlık Müdürlüğü Kanser Kayıt Merkezi Tıp Fakültesi Halk Sağlığı Anabilim Dalı, İZMİR
3İzmir İl Sağlık Müdürlüğü Meme Kanseri Erken Tanı Merkezi, İZMİR
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the decisions and attitudes of the Turkish older adults on the pre-defined dimensions related with health and being and old person, during the development process of WHOQOL-OLD (World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument , older Adults Module).

Methods: This study is qualitative study based on the results of Izmir, one of 23 centers of WHOQOL-OLD Project supported by European Union Framework 5 program. Each center carried our six focus groups. Four of these six focus groups composed of older persons. Each of the focus group sessions were performed in an independent room, under the management of one focus group moderator, one inspector and 4 to 6 older persons between the age range 62-85. The focus group discussions were carried out in Izmir, Ankara and Manisa city centers between the time period 25th December 2001 and 4th Februray 2002.

Findings: The mostly agreed quality of life concepts were: being healthy, independence (the ability of organising everyday activities without any support from others), being physically active, peace of mind and happiness, having economic independence, and right of resting.

When all 24 fields of WHOQOL-100 were probed one by one, 14 facets were regarded as “very important”, six facets “somewhat important” and four facets “not important at all”. “Work Capacity”, “Dependence on Medical Substances and Medical Aids” (except for insulin) were regarded as “not important” or “almost not important” for both male and female participants and sexual activities for women and bodily image for men only.

All of the additional items extracted by the co-ordinating center (Edinburg) (e.g. Sensory functions, Cognitive capacity, Social support/relations, Living situation, Social isolation/ lonliness, The financial and economic issues, Coping with loss and Significant life events) were considered as “very important” by all of the Turkish focus group participants. Among the items stated as “somewhat important” during the other centers' focus groups, Feelings about hospitalisation/institutionalisation, Grief over lost abilities, Relevance of family communications , Freedom of decision-making and choice and Importance of role as grandparent and Eating well/appetite were the items that most of the Turkish focus groups found important or very important. On the other hand Importance of perceived achievement/recognition for contribution to community/society, Concern about ageing/ perceived impact of negative discrimination and Importance of voluntary occupations were the items found not important by the majority of the Turkish groups.

Conclusion: The WHOQOL-100 was regarded as a very long quality of life instrument. Turkish older adults' sociological norms reflects the properties of Eastern cultur mostly with a difference between rural and urban originated ones. These aspects should be taken into account during the preventive, curative and rehabilitative services given to the elderly in Turkey and in case of subjective evaluations such as quality of life assessments, short, clear forms should be applied by using interviewer administration (face to face administration). Keywords : elderly, Quality of life, Qualitative research, WHOQOL