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Assessing Your Quality of Life When Aging – The CASP-19 Assessment

Assessing Your Quality of Life When Aging – The CASP-19 Assessment

By Susan Williams

Quality of life. We hear the term tossed around all the time but what does it actually mean? And what does it actually mean to the concept of aging?

This past summer I completed an online course entitled Strategies for Successful Aging offered through Trinity College in Dublin.

In one of the segments they discussed quality of life in aging and introduced us to an assessment tool called the CASP-19.

The CASP-19 was developed by a team of researchers at Swansea University and provides the opportunity for older individuals to complete a 19 question assessment to discover how they assess their current quality of life – specifically as it relates to aging.

I thought that this was a great piece of work that could possibly help baby boomers to better understand and assess their current situation and identify opportunities to improve their own quality of life as they aged.

So to better understand this assessment, I reached out to Dr. Martin Hyde, Associate Professor of Gerontology at Swansea University. Dr. Hyde led the research team in developing this assessment tool and generously shared his thoughts and insights with me as to how the assessment was developed along with ways as to how it could possibly be used to help us positively age.

Here is our conversation;

These are some of the highlights of our discussion;

  • The CASP-19 assessment was developed to capture both some of the positive and negative views of quality of life as people aged
  • Using a very robust research approach, the assessment itself was built from a number of different research resources. Maslow’s Theory of Needs along with inputs from a number of positive psychology sources.
  • Once the questions were developed, they were initially tested through their colleagues and then taken to the field and used with older individuals as well as reviewed with some focus groups. The questionnaire initially started with about 30 questions and then was distilled down to the 19 questions now used to really help capture quality of life
  • Once someone completes the assessment, they will get a “score”. The score can range from 0 – meaning complete absence of quality (which Martin says he has never seen) to a high score of 57.
  • There is no “good” or “bad” scoring – because it can vary so much. But the median score is around 40. So if someone gets a lower score then the median – it doesn’t necessarily mean they have a poor quality of life but this may present a chance to examine their life and see if there are some opportunities to change things
  • The CASP-19 actually has four sub domain life themes that it looks at within the assessment. The overall score will give you a general overview of the quality of your life however you can also drill down further as to these areas as well;
    • C – Control
    • A – Autonomy
    • S – Self Realization
    • P – Pleasure
  • Once you have completed the assessment, by looking closer at your responses to each question, it may also provide an indication of whether you may want to take any specific actions as you age. For example, one question asks does your life have meaning. Depending on your answer, you may discover you may want to invest some time in better defining and understanding your purpose. Or another question asks about your life having opportunity. This may be a chance to look further into what you may like to volunteer or give back to future generations or how you interact within your community

At the bottom of this post is a copy of the actual CASP-19 assessment.

To complete the assessment, you just simply answer each question based on how your feel. Once completed, just add up the answers to get your overall score. The different sub domains are identified by the sub domain letter.

If you are interested in learning more about the CASP-19 assessment, you can visit the CASP-19 website.

I think the more we focus on the things that are important to our quality of life, the higher the chance we will actually achieve it as we age.

Many thanks to Dr. Hyde for sharing the background and the possible uses of this assessment with us in our Booming Encore Learning Bites!

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.