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01.12.2017 | Research Article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2017

Crucial aspects promoting meaning and purpose in life: perceptions of nursing home residents

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2017
Jorunn Drageset, Gørill Haugan, Oscar Tranvåg



Meaning and purpose in life are fundamental to human beings. In changing times, with an aging population and increased life expectancy, the need for health care services and long-term care is likely to grow. More deeply understanding how older long-term care residents perceive meaning and purpose in life is critical for improving the quality of care and the residents’ quality of life. The purpose of this study was to explore crucial aspects promoting nursing home residents’ experience of meaning and purpose in everyday life.


An exploratory hermeneutical design with qualitative interviews for collecting data.


Four key experiences were found to promote meaning and purpose in life: 1) physical and mental well-being, 2) belonging and recognition, 3) personally treasured activities and 4) spiritual closeness and connectedness.


In supporting meaning and purpose in life of nursing home residents, the residents’ everyday well-being should be a central focus of care and facilitate personally treasured activities. Focused attention should also be given to the meaning-making power of experiencing belonging, recognition and spiritual connectedness.
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