An exploration of the experiences of older persons in an economically deprived residential care facility
Shabangu, Tankiso Richard.
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The older person’s component of the population has increased rapidly in recent years due to developments in medicine, technology and other areas of life. Growing older implies a gradual decline in the physical, mental and social functioning of an individual. Older people consequently have to rely on others for assistance, and, in some instances, they are looked after in residential care facilities. These facilities should be sensitive to older person’s culture, religion, ethnicity, privacy, dignity and independence. The aim of this study was to explore older person’s experiences in an economically deprived residential care facility in order to understand what their needs are and how these needs can be met so as to enhance older person’s subjective well–being. Socio–ecological theory and the BBB (Being, Belonging and Becoming) model were used to assess the extent to which the facility promoted the well–being of the residents of the facility. A qualitative research study was undertaken to determine the older person’s experiences of the residential care facility. A purposive sample of eight participants - three black and five white with ages ranging from 65 to 75 - was used in the focus group discussions. Another method, the Mmogo–methodTM, made use of a sample of 23 participants - eight black and 15 white with ages ranging from 65 to 75. The focus group discussions yielded insight into the older person’s experiences of the facility while in the Mmogo–methodTM, a visually projective method, the participants made visual representations of their experiences thereby revealing the deeper meanings of the experiences. The data, both textual and visual, obtained from the focus group discussions and the Mmogo–methodTM, were analysed using thematic content analysis. The trustworthiness of the study was ensured through crystallisation. The study revealed that the older persons in the facility experienced a lack of autonomy, isolation and discrimination. It also appeared that they wanted more contact with people outside the facility. Some of the older persons engaged actively with their environment while others adopted a more passive stance. The study suggests that older persons should be given the opportunity to take decisions regarding certain aspects of their lives. Also, interventions aimed at dealing with personal loss and relational deficiencies and at promoting respect for diversity should be planned and implemented in order to improve the subjective well–being of older persons in residential care facilities.
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