16. Physical safety and security
This facet examines the person’s sense of safety and security from physical harm. A threat to safety or security might arise from any source such as other people or political oppression. As such this facet is likely to bear directly on the person’s sense of freedom. Hence, questions are framed to allow answers that range from a person having the opportunities to live without constraints, to the person living in a state or neighbourhood that is oppressive and felt to be unsafe.
Questions include a sense of how much the person thinks that there are “resources” which protect or might protect his/her sense of safety and security. This facet is likely to have particular significance for certain groups, such as victims of disasters, the homeless, people in dangerous professions, relations of criminals, and victims of abuse.
Questions do not explore in depth the feelings of those who might be seriously mentally ill and perceive that their safety is threatened by “being persecuted by aliens”, for example.
Questions focus on a person’s own feeling of safety/lack of safety, security/insecurity in so far as these affect quality of life.
17. Home environment
This facet examines the principal place where a person lives (and, at a minimum, sleeps and keeps most of his/her possessions), and the way that this impacts on the person’s life. The quality of the home would be assessed on the basis of being comfortable, as well as affording the person a safe place to reside.
Other areas which are included implicitly are: crowdedness; the amount of space available; cleanliness; opportunities for privacy; facilities available (such as electricity, toilet, running water); and the quality of the construction of the building (such as roof leaking and damp).
The quality of the immediate neighbourhood around the home is important for quality of life, and questions include reference to the immediate neighbourhood. Questions are phrased so as to include the usual word for “home” i.e. where the person usually lives with his/her family. However, questions are phrased to include people who do not live in one place with their family, such as refugees, or people living in institutions. It would not usually be possible to phrase questions to allow homeless people to answer meaningfully.
18. Financial resources
The facet explores the person’s view of how his/her financial resources (and other exchangeable resources) and the extent to which these resources meet the needs for a healthy and comfortable life style. The focus is on what the person can afford or cannot afford which might affect quality of life.
The questions include a sense of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with those things that the person’s income enables them to obtain. Questions include a sense of the dependence/independence provided by the person’s financial resources (or exchangeable resources), and the feeling of having enough.
Assessment will occur regardless of the respondent’s state of health or whether or not the person is employed. It is acknowledged that a person’s perspective on financial resources as “enough”, “meeting my needs”, etc. is likely to vary greatly, and the questions are framed to allow this variation to be accommodated.
19. Health and social care: availability and quality
The facet examines the person’s view of the health and social care in the near vicinity. “Near” is the time it takes to get help.
Questions include how the person views the availability of health and social services as well as the quality and completeness of care that he/she receives or expects to receive should these services be required. Questions include volunteer community support (religious charities, temples...) which either supplements or may be the only available health care system in the person’s environment. Questions include how easy/difficult it is to reach local health and social services and to bring friends and relatives to these facilities.
The focus is on the person’s view of the health and social services. Questions do not ask about aspects of health care which have little personal meaning or relevance to the person who will be answering the question.
20. Opportunities for acquiring new information and skills
This facet examines a person’s opportunity and desire to learn new skills, acquire new knowledge, and feel in touch with what is going on. This might be through formal education programmes, or through adult education classes or through recreational activities, either in groups or alone (e.g. reading).
This facet includes being in touch and having news of what is going on, which for some people is broad (the “world news”) and for others is more limited (village gossip). Nevertheless, a feeling of being in touch with what is going on around them is important for many people and is included.
The focus is on a person’s chances to fulfil a need for information and knowledge whether this refers to knowledge in an education sense, or to local, national or international news that has some relevance to the person’s quality of life.
Questions are phrased in order to be able to capture these different aspects of acquiring new information and skills ranging from world news and local gossip to formal educational programmes and vocational training. It is assumed that questions will be interpreted by respondents in ways that are meaningful and relevant to their position in life.
21. Participation in and opportunities for recreation and leisure
This facet explores a person’s ability, opportunities and inclination to participate in leisure, pastimes and relaxation.
The questions include all forms of pastimes, relaxation and recreation. This might range from seeing friends, to sports, to reading, to watching television or spending time with the family, to doing nothing.
Questions focus on three aspects: the person’s capacity for, opportunities for and enjoyment of recreation and relaxation.
22. Physical environment (pollution/noise/traffic/climate)
This facet examines the person’s view of his/her environment. This includes the noise, pollution, climate and general aesthetic of the environment and whether this serves to improve or adversely affect quality of life. In some cultures certain aspects of the environment may have a very particular bearing on quality of life, such as the central nature of the availability of water or air pollution.
This facet does not include Home environment or Transport as these are covered in separate facets.
This facet examines the person’s view of how available or easy it is to find and use transport services to get around.
Questions include any mode of transport that might be available to the person (bicycle, car, bus...). The focus is on how the available transport allows the person to perform the necessary tasks of daily life as well as the freedom to perform chosen activities.
Questions do not enquire into the type of transport, nor do they explore means that are used to get around in the home itself. In addition the personal mobility of the individual is not included because this is covered elsewhere (Mobility).