In terms of thebasic characteristics of the participants, 75% were 65-75 years-old, and 25% were 75 or over. 30% were female and 70% male. 75% of the participants were married while 25% were widowed. 65% were retired while 10% were employed. All the participants had children.
Following the focus group interviews, the psychosocial needs of elderly were placed into four categories: psychological, spiritual, social and physical needs(Table 1).
Psychological category: The psychological category was divided into thethemes of losses, loneliness, risk of depression and adaptation to being elderly. Under the losses theme, there were the sub-themes of loss of independence and loss of strength. The loneliness theme was divided into the sub-themes of loss of spouse and loss of loved ones sub-themes. The risk of depression theme consisted of the sub-themes of feeling of unworthiness, regret, feeling of inadequacy due to physical problems, lack of hope and sadness and feeling low energy. Under the adaptation to being elderly theme, there were the sub-themes of positive attitudes/thoughts about being elderly, acceptance, and negative attitudes/thoughts about being elderly.
Spiritual category: the spiritual category was divided into of themes of anxiety about death, and beliefs, values and culture. The anxiety about death theme consisted of the sub-themes of regrets about the past, uncertainty about the future and the fear of losing loved ones. The beliefs, values and culture theme consisted of the sub-themes of desire of talking about the past-Longing to past (comfort).
Social category: the social category was divided into the change in roles, change in expectations, family problems and loneliness themes.The theme of change in roles consisted of the sub-themes of loss of role, becoming a grandparent (responsibility) and adaptation to retirement. The change in expectations theme included the sub-themes of enjoying free time (drawbacks) and expectations from children. The sub-theme of family problems included the sub-themes of communication problems with the spouse (inadequacy in family communication) and the burden of care due to the health issues of spouse. The loneliness theme included the sub-themes of physical burden, social isolation, work environment and feelings of alienation from friends.
Physical category: the physical category was divided into the themes of physical losses due to elderliness, and illnesses. The loss of functional competence, change in body image, and not being active were sub-themes within the physical losses due to elderliness theme.
Some of the statements regarding the themes and sub-themes under the category of psychological needswere as follows:
“When you get old, you are not physically sound and strong; this is such a bad feeling. I’m dependent on others, but I still do my own work, what should I do? Should I just sit and wait for other people?” (2W)
“When you get old, you either become weak or sick and you become dependent on a care-taker and children. I don’t even go out, I just stay at home. Either my children come and take me somewhere or my friends come and take me to the coffeehouse; I’ve been wanting to go to Karpaz for long time now, but who would come with me?” (2M)
“Thankfully my children often visit me. I handle the housework by myself and they help me too. I also have friends and I am not in need of anyone. I can cook and I like it. After the loss of my wife, I did to feel alone, sometimes I feel very bad at nights as if there is something sitting on my chest; I just cry.” (5M)
“I started to feel bad after the loss of my spouse; it has been ten years, which mean I’ve been alone for ten years.”(9W)
“Being old is very bad; the words are not enough. Me and my wife always have problems; we don’t have any joy, yet I don’t ask for anything.”(1M)
“You feel bad when you think that this is what they call life and it is over.”(5M)
“Being old is bad, think about it, everything is becoming worse.”(16M)
Adaptation to being elderly:
“Actually being elderly is a good thing; of course, it is when you don’t have any illness. Other than that, you have grandchildren and it is such a good feeling; for example, if I was not old, I would not be able to sit here right now and just work. I call it ‘the second spring.’”(13M)
“I don’t like when they call me old.”(17M)
Some of the statements regarding the themes and sub-themes in the spiritual needs category were as follows:
“I feel anxious that something will happen when my spouse leaves home; I also think about the children too.”(11M)
“I suffered a lot; my husband used to drink, he made me suffer a lot; I am fine now, I wish it hadn’t happened like this.”(8W)
Beliefs, values and culture:
“It will not be comfortable to have to move. I would want to be in my home.When you are stuck in bed and your child does not take care of you, then you have to live in a care home, but I don’t want that either. Then again a carercould come at home, which is much better, but if there is somewhere to go during the day, I might go but I’d have to think about it, there are people that I don’t know. I know and I feel comfortable around the people at the coffeehouse. I should try it.”(3M)
“Chatting with neighbours makes me happy; we talk about the past” (8W)
Some of the statements regarding the themes and sub-themes in the social needs category were as follows:
Change in roles:
“If there is anything to do to pass the time without making you exhausted after retirement, then that is good; otherwise you would get bored; you’d spend time at the coffee shop. I recommend spending time in the garden.”(13M)
“I take care of my grandchild; my daughter works so who would take care of that child. What can she do about it, I sometimes feel exhausted” (8W)
“We got old and a lot has changed in our lives; my wife passed away and I rarely see my children; I have a carer. I even need someone to talk to; my friends come and take me out otherwise I would stay at home; you can’t work anyway as an old person.” (20M)
Change in expectations:
“What can an old person do anyway?Just nothing, the men spend their free time at the coffee shop.”(14M)
“Someone has to take me to the doctor; there needs to be one person with me to remind me to take my medication; I have many needs during the day. My spouse is very old and children are not always around.”(1M)
“I want my children to visit but not only because we want them to. They have things to do.We took care of them, they should take care of us too.”(2W)
“I am sorry for my husband; I take care of him and I ask for help from my children when I need to.He would be offended if they didn’t come. I can understand them but he doesn’t. I am both the woman and man in the house; I would be ashamed of bringing someone into our home to help. I have five children.My husband has not left the house since his surgery. He can’t hear that well and grumbles at me. That’s the reason that I go to work. At home, he always argues with me. I wouldn’t have got married if I knew then what I know now. I said I would not get married then but I did.”(2W)
“My spouse’s health problemsmake me very sad.He/she can’t walk yet he/she wants to go out for a picnic but he/she can only sit in one place when we go.”(13M)
“My husband is sick and can’t walk. He doesn’t leave home, it is difficult for him to leave. He uses a walking stick. He doesn’t leave the house even though I want to.”(1M)
“Yes, I know that he doesn’t want anybody to see him using a walking stick, that’s why he stays at home.” (6W)
Some of the statements regarding the themes and sub-themes in the physical needs category were as follows:
Physical losses due to elderliness:
“I think about the past when I used to do everything by myself, now I ask help from my children.”(2W)
“I love nature and I walk as much as I can. I used to eat whatever I want and do sports when I was young. Now I have to track what I eat as I can’t walk a lot.”(16M)
“It’s very bad. An old person has endless problems. I don’t know what to do about the pain in my leg. It is a big problem. It feels like as if my legs are following me.” (7W)
“I would say that it is a good thing if I wasn’t sick. But an old person has a lot of problems including illnesses. I am afraid of being sick. I don’t want to be sick.”(12M)