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Issues of life quality and what that means for the very old in the population who are ageing and becoming frail in large numbers require new thinking regarding a practical application of quality of-life theory to enhance the experience of living in aged care contexts. Quality of life also has importance for care providers wishing to judge the quality of their services. Assumptions that disease and disability dictate life quality undermine the centrality of individual experiences, and assumptions regarding spirituality and religion can confuse approaches to services offered to a cohort of people whose focus is on spiritual well-being. Information gathered on aged care residents’ experiences of life quality can focus attention on supporting positive experiences during late age. If the potential for quality of life is strengthened, individual pursuit of higher meaning may be fostered. Appropriate support and care within care services can be enhanced through reliable assessment of factors that sustain quality of life. It is argued that quality of life can exist separately from disease or disability, that spirituality and religion are not synonymous, and that concepts of life quality and spirituality are not causally related and are therefore more reliably assessed as separate phenomena.

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Journal Article

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