Viver sozinho depois dos 80
: perfil de saúde e atitudes face à vida sensíveis a cuidados de enfermagem

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The increase of the elderly population in developed countries is now a reality and a topic of debate and concern, confronting us with a scenario of demographic aging along with an increase in the number of elderly people living alone in old age. With all the vulnerability that the aging process entails, in many situations it is no longer safe to live alone. Sharing these concerns, the goal of this study was to explain the process of living alone over the age of 80 and to identify the strategies used by people to achieve their health project, in order to plan nursing interventions that helps them live with more health, more quality of life and greater autonomy, for longer. The study was based on the qualitative paradigm, specifically using the approach called Grounded Theory. We were thus to meet 30 people over 80 years old living alone in their home, using the semi-directed interview as the main data collection strategy. A data collection form was also applied for sociodemographic characterization, which included some evaluation tools to better characterize the sample. We proceeded to the analysis of the collected data through the method of constant comparisons. It was verified that the process of living alone over the age of 80 is modulated by contextual conditions of this “living arrangement” and by influencing conditions translated into five main areas: personal characteristics and autonomy, family support, health status, financial situation and spirituality. In turn, the contextual conditions will be determinant of the adopted strategies, conducive to the maintenance of health and quality of life for the longest possible time, allowing them to remain living alone in their houses. Three different attitudes to life of those who live alone over the age of 80 emerged from the inductive analysis of the data: the Independent, the Resigned and the Bitter, taking into account the possibilities of health profiles: the vulnerable and the resilient, with specific implications for nursing. Nurses' knowledge about this process will facilitate an adequate and specific nursing practice according to the different attitudes towards life of those who grow old in the community over the age of 80.
Date of Award26 Nov 2018
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMargarida Maria Vieira (Supervisor)


  • Aging
  • Living alone
  • Health
  • Autonomy
  • Nursing care


  • Doutoramento em Enfermagem

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