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Prejudices and elderly patients’ personality – the problem of quality of care and quality of life in geriatric medicine

Aleksandra Błachnio, Leszek Buliński

Bydboszcz, Poland

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:674-680

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.889501

Available online:

Published: 2013-08-16

Background: The article discusses the position of elderly patients in medical intervention context. The phenomenon of greying population has changed the attitude towards the old but common observations prove that quality of geriatric care is still unsatisfactory. In order to improve specialists’ understanding of ageing, the comparative study on personality among people at different age was designed. The results are discussed in relation to the elderly patient-centred paradigm and in order to counterbalance still present ageist practices.
Material and Methods: The research involved 164 persons in the early and late adulthood stage ages. Among the old there were the young old (aged 65-74) and the older old (aged 75+). All participants were asked to fill the NEO-FFI.
Results: The results prove age-related differences in personality. In late adulthood in comparison to early adulthood there is the decline in openness to experiences. Two traits: agreeableness and conscientiousness increase significantly. Age did not differentiate significantly the level of neuroticism and of extraversion. The results of cluster analyses show the further differences in taxonomies of personality traits at different period of life.
Conclusions: The results challenge the stereotypes that present older people as neurotic, and aggressive. The age did not differentiate significantly the level of neuroticism and of extraversion. In general, the obtained results prove that the ageist assumption that the geriatric patients are troublesome is not arguable. This article builds support for effective change in geriatric professional practices and improvement in the elderly patients’ quality of life.

Keywords: Quality of Life - psychology, Quality of Health Care - standards, Prejudice - psychology, Personality, Geriatrics - standards, Cluster Analysis, Analysis of Variance, Aging - psychology, Age Distribution, young adult