What does quality of life mean to you?
Each of us has our own opinion of what quality of life means. It is general well-being and physical and mental health. It seems “quality of life” means many things and it is affected by many factors that make it difficult to be defined or measured beyond each person’s perception.
Surprisingly, it is not related to standard of living or how much money you have. Rather, your quality of life concerns ieducation and how often you feel joy or depression, and how often you participate in recreation or socializing.
Here are some “official” ideas submitted by organizations that have performed studies and analyzed surveys:
- Quality of Life Research Center - it is what makes life worth living
- Free Dictionary - “personal satisfaction . . as distinct from material comfort”
- MedicineNet.com - in medical care, “quality of life refers to the patient's ability to enjoy normal life activities”
- The World Health Organization - “The degree to which a person enjoys the important possibilities of his or her life.”
- The Center for Disease Control - “The perceived physical and mental health over time.”
- Economist Intelligence Quality of Life Unit - no relation to money across cultures
- University of Toronto’s Quality of Life Unit - “The degree to which a person enjoys the important possibilities of his or her life,” including belonging, connecting with the environment, and personal goals.
J.K. Rowlings who writes the Harry Potter books, tells of her experience with her mother’s MS. More than the disease progression, it was the deterioration of the quality of life that affected her mother and therefore her family. That is an important point, and one that we sometimes forget. It may be easier to accept a chronic disease progressing than it is to accept the quality of life being destroyed. Further, when quality of life deteriorates, it is not only the person with the condition who is affected, but the family and extended family.
How do you feel about your own, personal quality of life? My favorite concerns whatever makes life worth living. Any number of things like love, faith, passion for the arts, sports, or interaction with other people counteract the fact that you or someone you love has MS.
I also think J.K. Rowlings made an important point. Quality of life for one person - such as an MSer - affects family, friends, and even an entire community.
So the Question of the Week is: What does quality of life mean to you?