The end of life: a qualitative study of the perceptions of people over the age of 80 on issues surrounding death and dying

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007 Jul;34(1):60-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2006.09.028. Epub 2007 May 25.


This study explored how elderly people living in the community perceive issues around death, dying, and the end of life using a qualitative grounded theory approach. Forty individuals aged between 80 and 89 years who were living alone in the community were interviewed and were identified through purposive and random sampling. The results revealed that issues associated with end of life included fear of how they would die, fear of becoming a burden to others, wanting to prepare for and have a choice with regard to where and when they die, and issues relating to assisted dying. The study demonstrated that issues relating to the end of life are a major concern for older people, but are seldom addressed by professionals. Listening to and understanding the views and experiences of the older age group regarding end-of-life care is needed if adequate person-centered care is to be delivered to this ever-growing population group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over / psychology*
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palliative Care / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Suicide, Assisted / psychology*
  • Terminal Care / psychology