The proposed scientific research network aims to unite, coordinate and promote research efforts in the domain of tiredness of life in older persons, not only across Flanders but also in collaboration with strong international research experts. The interdisciplinary consortium brings together expertise and experience from disciplines such as palliative care, sociology, educational sciences, existential psychology, ethics, and thanatology. This is key to studying tiredness of life in older persons given the multifactorial, multidimensional nature of the phenomenon which requires analysis through multiple lenses. The network will provide the opportunity to develop and adhere to a common framework. We target three specific milestones within the coming five years:
1) Developing a joint language (year 1)
A first concern is constructing a robust conceptualization of tiredness of life (by means of literature review and a Delphi procedure). Thus far, the literature has not provided a concise and conclusive demarcation. Getting a common language and proper insight in how concepts (such as tiredness of life, depression, complicated grief, completed life, liveability and others) are related is important not only for theory and research development but also for practice. An international, cross-cultural approach overlapping various disciplines is significantly helpful in this regard.
2) Developing a joint research agenda (year 1-2)
A second target is to establish together what is currently known through each represented discipline, and thus what are the research gaps in this specific domain. This exercise will allow us to develop and effectively publish a common research agenda which will be useful in coordinating any research efforts in the near future and longer term.
3) Generating joint knowledge (year 2-5)
A third major target involves jointly working toward generating the necessary empirical insights about the phenomenon tiredness of life, through bi- and multilateral partnership projects. The multidisciplinary network will be able to generate robust insights and profound understanding with regard to the nature and extent of suffering, its temporality, fluctuation, the phases in the development of tiredness of life, and its modifiability and any avenues for addressing it. To this end, we foresee significant advantages in applying for and conducting research projects together as a consortium.