What is quality of life?

Experiencing quality of life depends on whether or not a person’s needs are being met and whether or not they can make choices to change or improve things in their life. Since every person’s needs are different, it can be difficult to measure quality of life.

Community Living BC uses a framework that was developed by Dr. Robert Schalock to describe quality of life. The quality of life framework is represented by eight domains.

The domains indicate an individual’s quality of life in three broad areas known as factors:

  • Independence to make choices about things that are meaningful in their lives and to determine how they live their lives;
  • Social participation to be connected to family and friends and feel included in their community; and
  • Well-being for a safe, healthy and satisfying life.

Dr. Schalock’s framework fits well with CLBC’s vision of supporting individuals with developmental disabilities to lead lives filled with possibilities in welcoming communities. Our aim is to provide disability-related services and supports to help individuals achieve the quality of life that is meaningful to them.

We want every person to have the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential and participate in, and contribute to, all aspects of life. A welcoming community is one that welcomes and enables participation of everyone without labels, appreciating the assets and gifts they have to offer.

The table below shows the relationship between the three factors, eight domains and associated indicators.

Quality of Life Framework
Factor Domain Exemplary Indicators
Independence Personal Development
  • Personal skills / adaptive behaviour
  • Choices / decisions / autonomy / control
Social Participation Interpersonal Relationships
  • Social networks
  • Friendships
  • Social activities
Social Inclusion
  • Involvement in community
  • Community roles
  • Equal opportunities
  • Respectful treatment
  • Legal access and due process
Well-being Emotional Well-being
  • Safety and security
  • Positive experiences / success
Physical Well-being
  • Health and nutritional status
  • Recreation / physical exertion
Material Well-being
  • Income
  • Possessions