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J Korean Acad Nurs. 2001 Dec;31(7):1197-1201. English. Original Article.
Lee KH , Oh HK .
College of Nursing Science, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.
East-West Nursing Research Institute, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.

The purpose of this study is to seek the nursing intervention for the elderly people's positive lives by investigating the causes for their loss and its meanings. The method of this research derives from a phenomenological tool as a qualitative research design. The data collection had been performed from February, 2001 until August, 2001 through systematic interviews and participatory observations of six elderly people (4 elderly women and 2 elderly men) residing in downtown Seoul. It took one and a half hour for each interview arranged five times. The analysis of this research is based upon Giorgi method and the research results on the causes for elderly people's sense of loss and its meaning are as follows. 1) bitter disappointment of family members : unfaithful children, husband's infidelity, conflict with daughter-inlaw, economic hardships. 2) bereavement : loss of spouse or children, a sense of one's own mortality. 3) regret for the past : sorrowful things, unfair treatment, a sense of resentment, a sense of futility, a feeling of helplessness, despair, resignation. 4) unpleasant memories of others : hurt of self-esteem, hostile feelings aroused by betrayal or distrust. 5) grief of lost youth : loss of health, hard married life, unlucky fate. 6) sense of another superable life : regret, awareness, maturity through suffering. As a person ages, the number of deaths of close friends and family members usually increases. The occurrence of such multiple losses can cause the elderly to become overwhelmed by the events. Care givers need to be sensitive to these losses and need to be aware that the elderly can experience an overload of grief. Counselling can often be useful in helping them to come to terms with such multiple losses.

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