Study on 'Good Death' that Korean Aged People Recognize - Blessed Death -

노인이 인지하는 '좋은 죽음' 의미 연구 - '복(福) 있는 죽음' -

  • Published : 2004.05.31

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore and understand the meaning of 'Good Death' that the Korean aged people are generally thinking based on their values and the sentiments. For this purpose, we carried out individual and in-depth interviews with 40 aged persons living in Seoul taking their genders and social-economic status into consideration from March to May 2003. We applied qualitative research method to this study. Eight graduate students were responsible for the interviews. They majored in gerontology or had experiences of field work with old persons. It took an average of one and a half hour and maximum of two hours for each of the interviews. All of the processes of each interview were tape-recorded under the agreement with each interviewee. The main and sub themes from the data can be classified to seven categories according to the Phenomenological Approach designed by Colaizzi(1978). The main theme of good death that most of the interviewees considered was 'Blessed Death', very similar to 'Death Fortune' in the five good fortunes found in Korean tradition and the Confucianism. Also, the main concept is classified to seven sub-themes: (1) Not seeing their children's death; (2) Dying in front of their children; (3) Not to be a burden of their children during their lives; (4) Dying after doing all of their duties as parents; (5) Dying with no pain; (6) Completing the natural span of their lives; and (7) Prepared death. Thus, 'Blessed Death' that Korean aged people consider seems to be very closely related with the lives, health, happiness and success of their children. Based on the findings, we concluded that both social policy makers and social service providers are required to keep in mind the meanings of 'Good death' that most of the Korean aged people consider in order to help them enjoy successful aging during their remaining lives.