Publication Date

2015

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study, conducted in Thailand, was to identify strategies for older adults to live alone happily, with dignity, security, and independence. Purposive sampling techniques were used to recruit participants from 12 provinces throughout Thailand. The sample included three groups: older Thai people living alone (n = 1,087), clinician who working with Thai older adults (n = 149), and administrators working in aged care and support services in Thailand (n = 83). Data were collected using structured interview guides. Content analysis was used to identify and develop the study findings. Most of the older Thai people living alone were single, widowed or divorced with few wanting to remain living alone. The large majority of participants needed government assistance to manage their activities of daily living including access to health and public services. Participants wanted aged care and support services to assist with their living arrangements, organise community activities, and provide home visits. Moreover, they wanted their families to visit them and provide financial support and care for them when they were ill. These older adults experienced living alone positively and negatively. Some participants felt proud, dignified, and independent. Other participants felt that living alone resulted in poorer health status, particularly emotional problems, especially for those who were not living alone by choice. These participants reported feeling lonely, bored, irritated, sad, and sorrowful. This group of older Thai adults had limited interaction with their families and the wider community. From this study, four strategies were identified to assist older Thai adults to live alone happily, safely and with a sense of dignity, security, and value. These strategies are: ensuring individual choice, maintaining family support, developing community value, and advocating for over-arching government policy support of aged care. A high number of older adults live alone in Thailand and this presents a big challenge for both these individuals and the community in which they live. If this important group in Thai society is to live alone happily and successfully, it needs to be additional assistance to ensure they are supported by families, communities, and government departments.

School/Institute

School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

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