The concept, “Quality of Life” is being studied by researchers and used by practitioners. It provides a means to measure how good life is for any one individual or for groups of people. The concept helps caregivers and individuals with a developmental disability make choices that favour outcomes consistent with the desired quality of life.A number of measures are used in assessing “Quality of Life”. These measures may vary somewhat according to the “Quality of Life” model being used. A model that has been developed at the University of Toronto and applied to seniors, defines seniors “Quality of Life” in terms of Being, Belonging and Becoming. This model recognizes that we are in a current state, we are social beings and we will change during the life process.
Quality of Life Model
Gerontology studies the dynamic process of aging. One of the things gerontology teaches us is that, as we age we become more uniquely ourselves. Our individual set of experiences shapes us throughout the life process so that at the age of 55 we are more different from one another than we were as children. Since each individual is unique and since life is a dynamic process we cannot rely on, “Quality of Life” to provide us with some absolute measure of quality. One’s personal quality of economic well-being or need for social interaction may not be the same as someone else’s. However the Quality of Life model, if used appropriately, helps us think and plan for quality. Quality of life, in the words of Dr. Ivan Brown, “is sensitizing…and instead of talking about disabilities, we talk about challenges, opportunities and support.
OPADD believes that the Quality of Life Model provides a sound point of reference to plan for the transition to older adulthood and the changes that occur during the aging process. The Quality of Life approach allows us to consider the uniqueness of the whole person and the best possible outcomes.