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The emotional experiences of elderly people living in nursing homes


The promotion of health and economic status in all over the world resulted in increasing the older population. It's expected, at least 40% of the population over 75 years, need extensive health care services in the last parts of their lives. The rate of transferring the elderly to the nursing home is increasing in Iran too. Understanding elder's emotional experiences is important for living in nursing home and understanding why this relocation causes that elder views it as “final sign of failure” is important, because this perceptions and fears have negative effects on elder's adaptation in countering with this challenge. This study aimed to describe emotional experiences of elders living in nursing homes.

Materials and methods

The qualitative phenomenological approach and purposive sampling amongst elderly residents in private and governmental nursing homes in Esfahan city was applied. Sampling continued till data saturation and resulting sample size became 10 participants. The data was collected with in-depth interviews and field notes. Colaizzi's method was used for data analysis and the rigor was based on transferability and credibility.


Three themes were extracted from the data (structural components of experience), including: 1- Residents' emotional experiences in nursing home life 2- Resident's emotional experiences at the entrance in nursing home. 3- Feeling of powerlessness.


In this study, older people have shown various emotions to relocation and residence in nursing homes. Every elder, with different context and different history in life, described its uniqueness experiences. In addition, pay attention to social, financial, health supports and mental, spiritual and physical needs of elders should be met through whole care, because only attention to physical needs of them, denies hopeful, meaningful and purposive life in nursing homes.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Salarvand, S., Abedi, H.A., Hoseini, H. et al. The emotional experiences of elderly people living in nursing homes. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S151 (2008).

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