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Quality of some domains of the life of elderly people who work

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DOI: 10.32749/nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/psychology/domains-of-the-life

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE

ROCHA, Felipe Queiroz Dias [1], PICCIONE, Marcelo Arruda [2]

ROCHA, Felipe Queiroz Dias. PICCIONE, Marcelo Arruda. Quality of some domains of the life of elderly people who work. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year. 06, Ed. 11, Vol. 09, p. 132-151. November 2021. ISSN: 2448-0959, Access link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/psychology/domains-of-the-life, DOI: 10.32749/nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/psychology/domains-of-the-life

ABSTRACT

Aging is an idiosyncratic phenomenon in each individual that converges in a series of physical and psychological changes. However, it is possible for the elderly to live well and with quality even if their organic performance is deficient. Therefore, the problem of this article is related to the growth of the appreciation of the quality of life in old age. Therefore, the objective was to verify the quality of some domains of the life of elderly people who work. Thirty-six elderly people from the city of São Paulo participated in the study, with a mean age of 71,5 and ± 5,4. Data was collected accidentally. For this, 36 identical WHOQOL questionnaires were used. To verify if there is a statistically significant difference, the non-parametric chi-square test was applied. The result was: 83,33% of seniors say they Totally Disagree with the premise that they have an unsatisfactory relationship with God and also Totally Agree that their relationship with God eliminates their feeling of loneliness; 63,33% Totally Agree with the existence of a true purpose for humanity and 47,22% of the elderly Completely accept their physical appearance. Thus, it was observed that the elderly workers are satisfied with their quality of life.

Keywords: aging, quality of life, old age, seniors.

INTRODUCTION

Quality of life is an individual’s conception of their position in life according to their own values ​​and standards in the face of their goals and concerns in the sociocultural environment in which they live. This concept has three different and simultaneously essential pillars, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): pluri dimensionality, subjectivity and the consideration of negative and positive points (TRENTINI; XAVIER and FLECK, 2006).

It is a topic that has different meanings in the most different areas. In Social Psychology, the mediating concept of subjective experience, and also the biggest reference, is the level of satisfaction. In fact, there has been an increase in the appreciation of quality of life in old age in recent years (TRENTINI; XAVIER and FLECK, 2006), which will be the scope of the present work according to the evaluation of a sample of elderly workers.

In turn, the aging process can be classified in three ways. The first is called old age with pathology and is characterized by the presence of a syndrome, disease or chronic disability, which critically limits the daily performance of the elderly individual and fades the capabilities held as a young adult (TRENTINI; XAVIER and FLECK, 2006).

The second is the usual or normal old age and it is the common aging process accompanied by physical and/or mental pathologies in a mild proportion in its manifestation, in order to cause only partial changes in the daily life of the elderly (TRENTINI; XAVIER and FLECK, 2006).

The third is known as successful or optimal old age and is understood as the arrival at this stage with the preservation of the physical state of health like young adults, which takes on a good or optimal condition with respect to social and personal well-being as an example (TRENTINI; XAVIER and FLECK, 2006).

As time passes, the number of elderly people in the world is increasing. In Brazil, the situation is no different and little by little the myth that we are a country of young people has been deconstructed (NERI, 2001a).

Biological aging is an idiosyncratic phenomenon in each individual, not a pathology. It is possible that the elderly live well and with quality even if their organic performance is weakened or deficient (MARTINS et al., 2007).

Furthermore, aging converges in a series of psychological changes, in addition to the physical ones, which can culminate in: resistance or non-acceptance to occupy other functions; discouragement and problems with planning for the future; lack of care due to biopsychosocial losses and decreased self-esteem and good self-image (NERI, 2001b).

However, unlike the negative and homogenizing stereotypical view of old age, there are elderly people who suffer the aging process differently and report old age as a phase of pleasure. There are no frustrations, conflicts or drama in the way they experience this stage, as well as no feelings of rejection and/or inferiority in the face of changes and losses were identified (JARDIM; MEDEIROS and BRITO, 2019).

In fact, there are some myths about old age, such as that in old age children become parents of their own parents. This is not entirely true, what occurs is a reversal of roles due to the loss of autonomy, of command, of the conditions to determine, choose their laws and objectives, on the part of the elderly (ZIMERMAN, 2000).

On the other hand, young subjects consider it possible to have happiness in old age and even have good conceptions about some characteristics of seniors, such as their self-image. However, at the same time, they also show a lot of uneasiness regarding the occurrence of this process itself, in order to report that it is better to die than to experience the anguish and loneliness peculiar to this stage, as they understand that seniority conjectures the arrival of these states (RABELO et al., 2008).

Thus, many questions are asked about how old age will be understood globally (VELOZ; NASCIMENTO-SCHULZE and CAMARGO, 1999).

Social aging modifies the status of the elderly and their relationship with other people (ZIMERMAN, 2000).

The spouse, after decades, is an important factor in the construction of this social status and suddenly, in the loss of the consort, the senior feels alone, contrite and disconsolate. Thus, the subject begins to suffer from lack of expressive communication and attention, loses his social role and is at the mercy of feelings of uselessness and lack of expectation with life (SIMKUNAS and ANJOS, 2001).

In fact, all subjects who went through such an experience report loneliness as a recurring element, but they report that they found involvement in collective activities, such as dance and gymnastics, as an alternative, to keep themselves in action and thus ward off the lonely state (SIMKUNAS and ANJOS, 2001).

In the end, love is available to everyone as it is manifested in behaviors and feelings. Those who withdraw or are unable to transform or evolve are at the mercy of loneliness and emptiness. Even those who have never been married can and should look for partners to start a relationship (ALMEIDA and LOURENÇO, 2007).

One of the constituent axes of psychological well-being is satisfaction with life, as it considers the subject’s own perspective on aspects of their reality. Two vital characteristics of this satisfaction are the accuracy of adaptation to insufficiencies and the power to absorb and incorporate positive information through a psychic structure responsible for self-knowledge, called the self (NERI, 2001a).

Thus, only 40% of the elderly are satisfied with their personal relationships, the same number that say they are completely satisfied with their physical appearance (COLALTO, 2002).

Regarding this second domain, the elderly are dissatisfied with their bodies and express a desire to have a slimmer appearance, as this factor is important in their biopsychosocial adaptation, since there are numerous stereotypes that stigmatize them due to their stunted physical size. These stigmas can make the elderly see their body in a distorted way and create negative representations (COSTA; BASTOS and SALES, 2008).

In the post-menopause period, women undergo changes in the genital region and physical shape. Modifications may occur in the way the individual sees his body to the point of considering himself deplorable and unable to please his consort, which generates emotional disturbances (VERAS, 1995).

Elderly women’s perceptions of body beauty in old age are classified into three categories: verbalized beauty, the aesthetic experience in front of a mirror and the beauty of women in old age (FIN; PORTELLA and SCORTEGAGNA, 2017).

Elderly women, regardless of socioeconomic and cultural conditions, recognize as beauty the image based on contemporary styles with the influence of current aesthetic standards, as they establish a judgment of appreciation in what they deem pleasant to see, feel and observe (FIN; PORTELLA and SCORTEGAGNA , 2017).

However, the aesthetic experience of looking at oneself reveals a duality between appreciated and depreciated images presented by the different ways of understanding and feeling old age. When unveiling the appearance of the aging body, women confess their feelings towards aspects of the years lived in a tangle of beauty and ugliness (FIN; PORTELLA and SCORTEGAGNA, 2017).

Beauty in old age is abstracted as a process that requires taking care of oneself and one’s relationships. It consists of an attentive look at the body and soul that follows rules, behaviors and principles, such as the practice of exercises, maintaining a good mood, dancing and looking for the doctor when there is some discomfort and even , occupation with volunteering. In the end, the perception of beauty is apprehended in the uniqueness of being through appreciation and love dedicated to oneself (FIN; PORTELLA and SCORTEGAGNA, 2017).

Regarding the vision disseminated to society by articles in a popular magazine, it was possible to observe in a hegemonic way the consolidation of a discourse that understands youth as a value to be conquered and maintained, while old age is understood as the result of the disability of each. In other words, being young is a responsibility of the readership, which, by following its periodic recommendations, will not age (KUSCHICK and MACHADO, 2016).

Women envy each other’s bodies, beauty, youth, thinness and sensuality. The body envied by them is youthful, slender and attractive. In Brazil, this body model is essential (GOLDENBERG, 2018).

Brazilian women are among the biggest consumers of cosmetic products and services around the world, such as plastic surgery, botulinum toxin, fillers, hair dyes, weight loss drugs and appetite suppressants. They are the ones who are most dissatisfied with their own bodies, and the ones who stop leaving the house, going to parties and even working when they feel old, fat and ugly (GOLDENBERG, 2018).

Young women say that they will take care of themselves when they are old and that their friends will help them. Men, in turn, say that the women in their families will do this for them: wife, daughters and granddaughters (GOLDENBERG, 2018).

There is also an idea that aging is always understood as an extrinsic advent. When talking about their own old age, most seniors refer to the case as if it were just an exogenous phenomenon. In fact, it happens that understanding this stage only through physical restrictions causes suffering, anguish and rejection of this context (LIMA, 2007).

On the other hand, spirituality can be considered a favorable resource for well-being in the elderly, so participation in motivating environments and the presence of opportunities for progress, allied with spiritual factors, have been central at this stage. Religiosity may be associated with greater resilience in old age (MARGAÇA and RODRIGUES, 2019).

That is, participation in religious activities, choices of doctrines and the belief system can be related to satisfaction, in addition to substantially influencing the conception that the subject configures about the world, in order to legitimize the meaning of life and provide the well-being (PANZINI et al., 2007).

Religion is a domain that, in order to be valid, needs to move and modify the individual, and not merely be a set endowed with morality, dogmas and rules, but rather a faith that qualifies the real encounter with the worshiped deity (DINIZ, 2003).

In this way, religion can be understood as the adoption of capital realities that consciousness cannot assimilate, which produces a feeling of completeness and inner union when it reaches the peak of psychic enjoyment. Myths (tales) and rites (actions) underlie all spiritual beliefs and, therefore, are the means of manifestation of the sacred through the representations developed. (BAPTISTA, 2003).

Regardless of the lifestyle of the elderly, most of them say prayers for causes such as: acquiring health, receiving peace of mind and love, family issues and giving thanks for favors achieved (ORLANDO et al., 2008).

Spirituality is highly preponderant in this period of the life cycle, so that an entire sample collected declared to be in line with some religion, since the engagement in activities of this nature allows the elderly to form a bond between their insufficiencies and the service of your talents. If this does not happen, the senior will at least be supported in facing this terminal stage of life (ARAÚJO, 1999).

Therefore, the general objective was to verify how the elderly who work appreciate the quality of some domains of their lives.

In turn, the specific objectives are:

  • Understand how the elderly are when they continue to work after passing the age that allows them to cease these activities;
  • Provide an opportunity for working seniors to report the condition of some domains of their lives;
  • Critically analyze the condition of some domains of their lives.

METHODOLOGY

PARTICIPANTS

This work had the voluntary participation of 36 elderly people who work, with or without registration, continuously or sporadically, aged 65 or over (which is the age group designated by the WHO for retirement); were 88,90% men and 11,10% women. The mean age is 71,5 years, the median is 71 years, the standard deviation is 5,4, and the age range is 22 years (the lowest age is 65 and the highest is 87).

MATERIAL

36 identical WHOQOL questionnaires were used for data collection. This material was selected due to its international recognition for the aforementioned purposes.

This questionnaire was divided into three parts: the first was to characterize the volunteer; the second part was composed of a series of closed questions on several domains that integrate the general conception of quality of life and that, thus, justify the objective of this research; the last part contained another series of affirmative and negative statements that allowed the subject to express his point of view regarding her value in his life – in other words, there were sentences in which the elderly person said at what level he agreed or disagreed with them, taking into account account your context.

PROCEDURES

Data were collected accidentally in January and February, that is, potential research participants (workers aged 65 years or older) were searched at random and when found, they were approached by researchers instantly.

First, we introduce ourselves and explain the purpose of our work. Then, if the elderly person complied with the desired sample group and agreed to participate, we would give them the Termo de Consentimento Livre e Esclarecido (TCLE)[3] and the questionnaire, as well as provide them with all kinds of clarification on these documents and their items. It is important to emphasize that this article is part of a larger work, which was approved by the Ethics and Research Committee nº 017/2005 and CAAE 005.0.237.000.05.

All subjects found were in the city of São Paulo, 15 in Mooca, six in Brás, six more in Sé, five in Zona Cerealista, three in Vila Mariana and one in Cambuci.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Here, some results obtained in the WHOQOL questionnaires used through the following tables will be presented and critically discussed.

Table 1 – Marital Status

Situations F %
Single 6 16,66
Separate 4 11,11
Married 19 52,77
Widower/widow 7 19,44
Total 36 100

Source: WHOQOL Questionnaires.

Table 1 shows that more than half (52,77%) of respondents are married. Another 19,44% are widowed, 16,66% are single and only 11,11% are separated.

The non-parametric chi-square test was applied to find out if there is a statistically significant difference; resulted in Xo2=9,80 and X2c=7,81, with a statistically significant difference. It is known that n.g.l.=3 and α=0,05.

Thus, more than half of the elderly who work maintain a steady love relationship and this can be directly linked to the idea related to motivation and interest in work, since, according to studies carried out by Simkunas and Anjos (2001), after decades At work, marriage becomes an important factor for building the social status of the elderly, since in the loss of a spouse, the individual feels alone, disconsolate and sad. In the meantime, the subject suffers from lack of expressive communication and attention, loses his social role and starts to have feelings of worthlessness and lack of expectation with life.

If we consider these words, 30,55% may be subject to a derogatory psychological state and low animosity for being Widowed or Separated. According to Simkunas and Anjos (2001), all subjects who have gone through such an experience mention loneliness as a present feeling.

This condition caused by the loss of a spouse transverts the status of the elderly and, according to Neri (2001b), results in coercive changes in the senior’s self-image and self-esteem, in addition to resistance to new roles, problems in planning for the future, need for assistance in the face of of biopsychosocial losses and loss of spirit.

However, Almeida and Lourenço (2007) say that love is available to everyone. Even those who have never been married can and should look for partners to start a relationship, but those who withdraw or are unable to transform or evolve are at the mercy of loneliness and emptiness.

Regarding the majority who are married, it can be assumed that the spouse is an attribute that encourages or obliges them (depending on each one’s socioeconomic status) to remain at work, since both domains must constitute the status that the elderly person has of itself, as Zimerman (2000) and Simkunas and Anjos (2001) say.

Table 2 – Level of acceptance of physical appearance

Acceptance F %
Very little 2 5,55
Medium 11 30,55
Quite 6 16,66
Completely 17 47,22
Total 36 100

Source: WHOQOL Questionnaires.

It is observed in Table 2 that 47,22% of the participants completely accept their physical appearance, while 16,66% opted for the quite statement. On the other hand, 30,55% and 5,55% assess that they have a level of acceptance related to the Medium and Very Little variables, respectively. None of the elderly people chose the Nothing alternative, which caused this variable to be eliminated from the table.

To verify if there is a statistically significant difference, the chi-square test was applied. It was found that xo2=6,40 and x2c=7,81, with no statistically significant difference. It is also noteworthy that n.g.l.=3 and α=0,05.

Regarding the result, opinions related to a positive perspective regarding the acceptance of physical appearance predominate, with 63,88% of the participants saying that they accept it in the variables Quite and Completely.

Unlike this result, in a similar work carried out by Colalto (2002) on the same issue, the result obtained regarding the effects of physical changes is seen positively by only 40% of the participants.

Coast; Bastos and Sales (2008) say that most of the elderly are dissatisfied with their physical appearance and wish to have a slimmer body, since this factor is important in their biopsychosocial adaptation because of stereotypes about their physical size, considered fragile. These stigmas tend to make the elderly see their body in a distorted way and have negative representations.

In this regard, Lima (2007) says that there is a stereotype that aging is an external phenomenon. When talking about their own seniority, most elderly people refer to the subject as if it were something outside them, while what happens is that the perception of old age, through physical restrictions, when these can no longer be hidden, causes suffering, anguish and rejection of this situation.

This concept of aging goes through the power of the media. Kuschick and Machado (2016) talk about the vision of old age disseminated through texts from a popular magazine, in which it was possible to hegemonically observe the consolidation of a discourse that understands youth as a value to be conquered and established, while seniority is understood as the result of the subject’s inaptitude. In other words, being young is a responsibility of each individual, who, by following the periodic recommendations that are published, will not grow old.

Rabelo et al. (2008) corroborate the influence of media power when they say that young people have good conceptions about some characteristics of the elderly, such as their self-image, and believe that there is happiness in old age. However, paradoxically, they consider that this phase of life foreshadows loneliness and anguish, so that they are very restless about this process itself and declared that they prefer death to reaching this stage and experiencing these feelings cited as peculiar to old age.

This dichotomous view that young people have of old age is the result of myths and stereotypes, which can be strengthened by the dissemination of inaccurate content by media outlets, such as the magazine studied by Kuschick and Machado (2016). These stereotypes, creators of a partial and concomitant absolute understanding of the elderly as subjects in a situation of inferiority or disadvantage in relation to the younger ones, are so questionable that the results of Table 2 – where the variable Nothing was eliminated by no participant thus classifying acceptance of their physical appearance and the option Very little was mentioned by only 5,55% – they are incompatible with Costa; Bastos and Sales’s (2008) words and with the data presented by Colalto (2002). It is worth considering that Zimerman (2000) still talks about the myth of children becoming their own parents in old age, revealing yet another example of misunderstanding about seniority.

It is also worth considering the words of Jardim; Medeiros and Brito (2019) about the peculiarity of the aging experience, which breaks with the stereotypical and homogeneous view of the absence of pleasure at this stage. There are elderly people who report this adversity when they report the absence of frustrations, conflicts or drama in this phase, in the same way that they do not identify a feeling of rejection and/or inferiority in the face of changes and losses. Trentini; Xavier and Fleck (2006) call this process successful old age, which succeeds and establishes itself with the maintenance of health as in young adults.

From another perspective of young people, Goldenberg (2018) says that women say that they will take care of themselves when they reach old age and that their friends will help them. Men say that the women in their families will do it for them: wife, daughters and granddaughters.

In the specific case of women (which are 11,10% of the participants in this study), Fin; Portella and Scortegagna (2017) say that the perceptions of elderly women about body beauty in old age are divided into three categories: verbalized beauty, the aesthetic experience in front of a mirror and the beauty of women in old age.

According to the trio Fin; Portella and Scortegagna (2017), elderly women, regardless of socioeconomic and cultural conditions, recognize as beauty the image reflected in contemporary fashion with the influence of current aesthetic standards, as they establish a judgment of appreciation in what they consider pleasant to see, feel and enjoy observe. However, the experience of looking at oneself reveals a contrast between appreciated and depreciated images presented by the different ways of understanding and feeling old age. When unveiling the appearance of the aging body, women confess their feelings towards aspects of the years lived in a tangle of beauty and ugliness.

Fin; Portella and Scortegagna (2017) complete by saying that beauty in old age is abstracted as a process that requires care for oneself and one’s relationships. It consists of an attentive look at the body and soul that follows rules, behaviors and principles, such as exercising, maintaining a good mood, volunteering and seeking the doctor when there is any discomfort. In the end, the perception of beauty is apprehended in the oneness of being through appreciation and love dedicated to oneself.

This perspective on beauty explained by Fin; Portella and Scortegagna (2017) and, therefore, acceptance of one’s own image involves psychological well-being and encompasses life satisfaction in the words of Neri (2001a), as it considers the assessment of the individual. In addition, two key characteristics for this psychological well-being are observed: the ability to accommodate losses (in this case, the youthful appearance) and the ability to assimilate positive information about oneself, which corresponds to beautiful images (which contrast with the of ugliness) described by the trio.

These data challenge the words of Goldenberg (2018), who says that women envy the body, beauty, youth, thinness and sensuality of their peers. The body they desire is youthful, slim and attractive, which is a key model in Brazil.

Goldenberg (2018) continues and still says that Brazilian women are among the biggest consumers of aesthetic products and services around the world, such as plastic surgery, botulinum toxin, fillers, hair dye, slimming drugs and appetite suppressants. They are also the ones who are most dissatisfied with their own bodies, the ones who stop leaving the house, going to parties and even working when they feel old, fat and ugly.

Veras (1995) continues and says that in the post-menopause period, changes occur in the genitals and in the physique of women. There may also be changes in the self-image of your own body, so that you may find yourself deplorable and unable to please your consort, which causes emotional disturbances.

The appeal for a body approved by society comes from youth, passes through the media and reaches old age as an unequal requirement given the physical and cyclical conditions of the subject. Whether for fashion, personal vanity or symbolic self-affirmation of their status, the elderly are naturally at a disadvantage in the face of the required aesthetic standards and could redefine their concept of beauty to accept their physical appearance with greater satisfaction in order to have a better quality of life in this environment domain.

In view of this, it can also be assumed that permanence at work is a strengthening of self-esteem and acceptance not only of their physical appearance, but also of their daily performance. In this way, the elderly do not experience old age as a period of restrictions.

Table 3 – Dissatisfaction with the personal relationship with God

Dissatisfaction F %
Totally agree 2 5,55
Partially agree 2 5,55
Disagree more than agree 1 2,77
Partially Disagree 1 2,77
Totally Disagree 30 83,33
Total 36 100

Source: WHOQOL Questionnaires.

The results in Table 3 indicate that 83,33% of the elderly Totally Disagree that their relationship with God is unsatisfactory. There are two groups of 5,55% of respondents who chose the alternatives Totally Agree and Partially Agree and two other groups of 2,77% who chose to disagree more than agree and Partially Disagree. Only the alternative I agree more than I disagree was not voted on by the subjects and was therefore eliminated from the table.

It is worth noting that xo2=0 and x2c=9,48; since the chi-square test was applied with the intention of verifying if there is a statistically significant difference; it was found that there is no such difference. It is also worth considering that n.g.l.=4 and α=0,05.

Table 4 has a result of total compatibility with Table 3, as it shows that 83,33% Totally Agree with the premise that their relationship with God eliminates the feeling of loneliness, the same amount that says Totally Disagree with the suggestion of being have dissatisfaction in the personal relationship with God. It is important to highlight that both tables do not have a statistically significant difference and are congruent with each other according to their results, which shows that there is a connection between the aspects investigated by them.

Araújo (1999) says that spirituality is highly prevalent in this period of the life cycle. The reason for this is that the engagement in activities of this nature enables the elderly to establish a link between their inadequacies and the use of their talents. If this does not happen, the senior will at least be supported in facing this terminal stage of life.

In agreement, Panzini et al. (2007) continue, saying that religion can be related to satisfaction. In fact, beliefs and doctrines substantially influence the conception that the subject creates about the world.

In other words, in the words of Margaça and Rodrigues (2019), spirituality can be a favorable element for well-being in old age, especially because participation in stimulating environments and the presence of opportunities for evolution are essential at this stage. Thus, religiosity may be associated with greater resilience in old age.

Baptista (2003) says that religions are based on myths and rites that manifest the sacred through the representations created. Thus, considering the practice of prayers as a rite, Orlando et al. (2008) say that most elderly people pray for issues such as gratitude, obtaining health, receiving peace and love and for family causes, regardless of their lifestyle.

Prayer, in its most common sense, is the creation of a dialogue between people. In the spiritual case, it is understood to be between the religious and the divinity, even if it is done together with other adepts in a collective space. In this way, it is understood that it is a means of communication with the worshiped sacred figure with which a relationship is established. In this relationship, 88,88% of the participants say they disagree to some degree about being dissatisfied, according to the results in Table 3. These data are still compatible with those of Araújo (1999), who says that an entire sample collected (that is, 100%) declared that they were in line with some religion, although it was not possible to verify the gap between this same affinity and the practice of this rite.

Baptista (2003), thus, defines religion as the adoption of capital realities that consciousness cannot assimilate, which produces a feeling of completeness and inner union when it reaches the peak of psychic enjoyment.

In turn, Diniz (2003) conceptualizes religion as a domain that, in order to be valid, needs to move and modify the individual, and not merely be a set endowed with morality, dogmas and rules, but rather a faith that qualifies the encounter real with the worshiped deity.

Finally, it is clear that the religious aspect is predominant in the opinion of the elderly regarding their quality of life, in order to demonstrate a prevalence of acceptance responses that is much more polarized than in other domains.

Table 4 – Feeling of loneliness eliminated by the relationship with God

Caress F %
Totally agree 30 83,33
Partially agree 3 8,33
Disagree more than agree 1 2,77
Partially Disagree 2 5,55
Total 36 100

Source: WHOQOL Questionnaires.

In Table 4, it is noted that 83,33% of the subjects Totally Agree that they do not feel alone because of their relationship with God. Another 8,33% chose to Partially Agree and 5,55% Partially Disagree. Only 2,77% disagree more than agree. The variables agree more than disagree and totally disagree were not mentioned and therefore were discarded from the table.

To find out if there is a statistically significant difference, the chi-square test was applied. It was found that xo2=0 and x2c=7,81, with no statistically significant difference. In addition, it is considered that n.g.l.=3 and α=0,05.

This result is the same as in Table 3, in which 83,33% of the participants also say they totally disagree with the premise that they do not have a satisfactory relationship with God. In fact, if there is a meaningful personal relationship then there should be no loneliness. The issues addressed by these two tables are precisely similar and congruent.

This feeling is also very present in the loss of a spouse, according to Simkunas and Anjos (2001). The duo says that the alternative found by the elderly to eliminate it is the involvement in collective activities. On the other hand, Almeida and Lourenço (2007) say that love is available to everyone as it is expressed in behaviors. Subjects who withdraw or show themselves incapable of transcending themselves are at the mercy of loneliness and emptiness. Even those who have never been married can and should look for partners to start a relationship. Furthermore, it is not possible to establish a relationship between the data in Tables 1 and 4 by marital status, which does not necessarily denote the feeling of loneliness.

Rabelo et al. (2008) also discuss loneliness when they report that it is a factor that young people associate with aging and, therefore, prefer to die than suffer this process (despite believing that it is possible to be happy in old age and not doubting the abilities of the elderly). However, this perspective is incompatible with the results obtained here.

From another perspective, Panzini et al. (2007) say that religion can be associated with satisfaction and, therefore, be linked to happiness, as beliefs and doctrines substantially influence the individual’s conception of the world.

In other words, in the words of Margaça and Rodrigues (2019), religion can be a factor conducive to well-being in old age, since participation in motivating environments and the presence of opportunities for progress have been fundamental in the elderly. Thus, religiosity may be associated with greater resilience in old age.

Araújo (1999) says that spirituality is highly preponderant in this period of human development, so that 100% of his sample declared to be in accordance with some belief, since the engagement in activities of this type allows the elderly to form a bond between their inadequacies and the use of their talents. If this does not happen, the subject will at least have support in facing this final stage of life.

Diniz (2003) understands religion as an aspect that, in order to be valid, needs to move and modify the subject, and not merely be a system endowed with morality, dogmas and rules, but composed of a faith that represents the real encounter with the divine.

In turn, Baptista (2003) understands religion as the adoption of capital realities that consciousness cannot assimilate, which produces a feeling of completeness and inner union when it reaches the peak of psychic enjoyment.

Baptista (2003) also says that religions are based on myths and rites capable of expressing the sacred element through the constituted symbols. Therefore, Orlando et al. (2008) says that most elderly people practice prayers for causes such as obtaining peace and love, gratitude, physical health and family complaints, regardless of their lifestyle. Prayers can be understood as a rite that links the elderly to the divinity and, as an effect, eliminates their feeling of loneliness, since prayer also assumes a form of relationship with the sacred being.

Table 5 – There is a true purpose for the existence of humanity

Variables F %
Totally agree 23 63,88
Partially agree 3 8,33
Agree more than Disagree 1 2,77
Partially Disagree 1 2,77
Totally Disagree 7 19,44
Total 36 100

Source: WHOQOL Questionnaires.

It is possible to clearly see in Table 5 that 63,88% Totally Agree on the assumption that there is a true purpose for human existence, while 19,44% Totally Disagree and 8,33% Partially Agree. There are three groups of 2,77% in the options, agree more than disagree, I disagree more than agree and  partially disagree.

With the intention of verifying if there is a difference of significance, the chi-square test was applied. The result was: xo2=8,52 and x2c=11,07; It is also worth noting that n.g.l.=5 and α=0,05.

Regarding the philosophical question, ¾ of the elderly participants (75%) agree that there is a purpose for human existence, a percentage almost as accentuated as those observed in Tables 3 and 4, which investigate religious aspects. It is valid to consider the words of Panzini et al. (2007), who say that religion can explain the meaning of life and significantly influence the subject’s conception of the world.

On the other hand, we can also infer the relationship of this premise with the will to continue to live in an active way, as a senior. Martins et al. (2007) say that even with a deficient and fragile organism it is possible for the elderly to live with quality. In turn, Simkunas and Anjos (2001) discuss the importance of the consort in this phase of life when there is a loss; that is, the process of interpersonal construction through this relationship continues into old age, otherwise the subject would not suffer the impacts described by the pair. Almeida and Lourenço (2007), also, say that, even for those who don’t have a partner, love is available, as long as they want it.

Even young people have good perspectives on the capabilities of the elderly (although they have a dual view of this stage), according to Rabelo et al. (2008), so that, in accordance with Neri (2001a), it can be seen that seniors demonstrate satisfaction with their lives and their level of well-being through these responses (although they are not very specific).

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

The elderly who work demonstrate to be mostly satisfied with the quality of the observed domains of their lives. In particular, it was possible to notice a high polarization regarding religiosity, so that this is an almost absolute aspect in the opinion of the participants, which is in accordance with what Araújo (1999) says about the support that this domain provides in facing this stage end of life.

The other verified areas also received a majority of responses from the participants that clearly denotes satisfaction, although the distribution was less concentrated in a single variable. It is estimated that this predominance is due to the process of successful old age, according to the words of Trentini, Xavier and Fleck (2006). Thus, the inherent changes of aging mentioned by Neri (2001a) were peripherally observed in the sample group collected.

As previously explained, this study aimed to investigate the quality of some domains of the life of elderly people who still work through a standardized questionnaire and to critically analyze the data obtained through the theoretical foundation used. This instrument was able to quantify the responses of the participants, measure statistical differences and made it possible to create hypotheses based on the literature consulted, however, it was noticed the presence of gaps between these same answers and the reasons that fostered them, in order to make a greater analysis impossible rigor and accuracy. In this way, it is suggested that other more detailed studies can be carried out to qualitatively investigate these and other facets of these subjects (especially on religious life, which was highlighted in the polarization of responses), in the same way as a replication of this work with seniors who do not work to compare the results of both classes: workers and retirees.

Finally, it is hoped and wanted that this scientific contribution can cooperate so that there are questions about the contextual reality of the elderly who work in order to promote better living conditions for them both in the aspects addressed (although the sample group has shown preeminent satisfaction in the responses) as in others.

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APPENDIX – FOOTNOTE

3. Brazilian Free and Informed Consent Form.

[1] Master in Educational Sciences from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto (FPCEUP); Master in Adult Education and Training by FPCEUP; Psychologist and Bachelor in Psychology from Universidade São Judas Tadeu (USJT).

[2] Specialist in Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity by Instituto Sedes Sapientiae. Psychologist and Bachelor in Psychology from Universidade São Judas Tadeu (USJT).

Sent: October, 2021.

Approved: November, 2021.

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Felipe Queiroz Dias Rocha

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