Perceptions of successful ageing in Sri Lankan older people: A qualitative study

Journal Article

© 2015, Hong Kong Academy of Medicine Press. All rights reserved. Background. This study explores the opinions and views of Sri Lankan older people about successful ageing. Methods. 30 females and 28 males aged 63 to 85 (median, 69) years recruited from 4 locations in a southern district in Sri Lanka participated in 8 focus groups (4 in rural and 4 in urban). Each focus group contained a single sex of participants so as to enable women to express their views freely. Discussions were audio recorded and transcribed. Transcripts were independently reviewed by the researchers and recurring themes were identified and coded using a content analysis approach. Analytic memos were prepared to elaborate on the themes and identify exemplary quotes. Results. Four major themes related to successful ageing were identified: (1) being physically active and healthy, (2) being free from burdens and responsibilities, (3) having fulfilling family relationships, and (4) pursuing spiritual development. In addition, a living environment conducive to physical activity and charitable work, and living with children were identified as facilitators of successful ageing. Economic hardship, having unsettled and vulnerable children, disrespect by the community, limited access to health care, and negative attitudes of health service providers towards older people were identified as important barriers to successful ageing. Conclusions. Strategies that can improve the quality of life of Sri Lankan older people include increased community awareness of population ageing and expectations of older people, a strengthened primary health care system that caters to their needs, and development of support systems for home-based care.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Perera, B; Watt, M; Ostbye, T; Rajapakse, H; Ranabahu, S; Maselko, J

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 22 - 30

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1819-1576

Citation Source

  • Scopus