Good Spirit, Good Life: A Quality of Life Tool and Framework for Older Aboriginal Peoples

Kate Smith, Lianne Gilchrist, Kevin Taylor, Christine Clinch, Dina LoGiudice, Paula Edgill, Julie Ratcliffe, Leon Flicker, Harry Douglas, Kate Bradley, Dawn Bessarab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The lack of appropriate quality of life (QoL) measures is a major barrier to planning and delivering health and aged care services for older Indigenous peoples worldwide. QoL is dependent on cultural values and priorities may vary between age groups. This project aims to develop a QoL tool for older Aboriginal Australians.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: The study was completed with Aboriginal Australians aged over 45 years living in Perth and Melbourne, Australia. Participatory Action Research methods were applied with an Indigenous research paradigm. Semistructured interviews were undertaken to identify the factors important to having a good life. Factors were further explored in yarning groups with older Aboriginal peoples to develop the draft QoL tool questions. Face validity of the tool was completed in two regions.

RESULTS: The participants preferred the term "a good life" to QoL. Having a good spirit is at the core of having a good life. The protective factors for a good life were family and friends, health, culture, Elder role, respect, Country, spirituality, services and supports, community, future plans, safety and security, and basic needs.

DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Twelve factors were identified and developed into key questions for the Good Spirit, Good Life tool. The draft tool will undergo quantitative validity testing, prior to embedding in service provision to inform care for older Aboriginal peoples. With local adaptation, the tool, accompanying framework, and participatory methods for development may have wider applicability to other Indigenous populations worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E163-E172
JournalThe Gerontologist
Issue number5
Early online date19 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Good Spirit, Good Life: A Quality of Life Tool and Framework for Older Aboriginal Peoples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this