Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Supervisor

Dr Peter Hancock


This Honours thesis explored the highly debated construct of Quality of Life and in particular, how this concept was perceived amongst a small cohort of aged clients from Community Vision, a peak Non-Government Organisation operating in the northern suburbs of Perth, W A. The Analytical Framework utilised in this Honours study consisted of two phases; an analysis of existing academic literature and the development of a new qualitative inquiry. Semi-structured interviews and electronic surveys were conducted with a group of aged clients, staff and managers from Community Vision and key informants representing three peak W A aged care service providers. This Honours research was comprised of three main components. The first component was a review of the seminal and current academic literature outlining relevant gerontological, sociological and Quality of Life paradigms. Existing Quality of Life indicators and Frameworks were reviewed and several major themes were identified as a result of this secondary analysis. As evidenced in the literature, there was no clear definition of Quality of Life per se. A variety of Frameworks were identified as being multi-dimensional constructs that encompassed both objective and subjective indicators of Quality of Life. There appeared to be a strong interrelationship between these objective and subjective dimensions and it was found that interpretations of tangible constructs do impact on an individual's Quality of Life. The secondary data indicated that there was strong support for the individuation of Quality of Life Frameworks and in allowing respondents to nominate themes that were personally significant to them. The second component of this study involved using qualitative approaches to determine how a sample of respondents (identified above) perceived the concept of Quality of Life amongst older people. As in the literature review, the primary data pointed to a significant interrelationship between objective and subjective dimensions of Quality of Life. Respondents indicated that older people were heterogeneous and one's contextual situation and personality were important factors in identifying interventions that would improve their Quality of Life. A recurrent theme throughout the primary and secondary data was that 'methods of best practice' should be based on individuating services and encouraging older people to actively participate in decisions relating to their care. Evidence from secondary sources was also used to support data obtained through this primary inquiry. As such, new or alternative Quality of Life indicators identified as part of the Analytical Framework were used in discussion pertaining to the strengths and weaknesses evident in the Referral and Assessment Form, the current Quality of Life indicator used by Community Vision. The third component of this Honours study was an evaluation of the global phenomenon identified as a rapidly ageing population. In light of the data obtained as part of the literature review and qualitative inquiry, it was found that a rapidly ageing society had implications for the future Quality of Life of older Australians. It was established that due to a lack of government financial input and poor recruitment rates in the human services, the scope of aged care policy development and practice would become severely limited and the Quality of Life of older people would diminish. It was argued that governments, academics and policy-makers could employ collaborative, preventative strategies aimed at reducing this decline in service delivery. The Wellness approach and the technique of reminiscence were presented as avenues that would promote the individuation of care and ensure there was an egalitarian relationship between aged clients and service providers in the future.

Included in

Gerontology Commons