Domains of importance to the quality of life of older people from two Swiss regions

Age Ageing. 2015 Nov;44(6):979-85. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afv130. Epub 2015 Sep 23.


Background: Quality of life (QoL) is a subjective perception whose components may vary in importance between individuals. Little is known about which domains of QoL older people deem most important.

Objective: This study investigated in community-dwelling older people the relationships between the importance given to domains defining their QoL and socioeconomic, demographic and health status.

Methods: Data were compiled from older people enrolled in the Lc65+ cohort study and two additional, population-based, stratified random samples (n = 5,300). Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to determine the underlying domains among 28 items that participants defined as important to their QoL. The components extracted were used as dependent variables in multiple linear regression models to explore their associations with socioeconomic, demographic and health status.

Results: PCA identified seven domains that older persons considered important to their QoL. In order of importance (highest to lowest): feeling of safety, health and mobility, autonomy, close entourage, material resources, esteem and recognition, and social and cultural life. A total of six and five domains of importance were significantly associated with education and depressive symptoms, respectively. The importance of material resources was significantly associated with a good financial situation (β = 0.16, P = 0.011), as was close entourage with living with others (β = 0.20, P = 0.007) and as was health and mobility with age (β = -0.16, P = 0.014).

Conclusion: The importance older people give to domains of their QoL appears strongly related to their actual resources and experienced losses. These findings may help clinicians, researchers and policy makers better adapt strategies to individuals' needs.

Keywords: importance; older people; population characteristics; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged / psychology*
  • Aged / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Safety
  • Self Concept
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland