Living Independently: Exploring the Experiences of Visually Impaired People Living in Age-Related and Lifetime Housing Through Qualitative Synthesis

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Abstract

Objectives:

The aim of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of visually impaired older people living independently at home.

Background:

As populations are aging globally, there is now an increase in the prevalence of visual impairment. That means for ongoing and future aging-in-place strategies that seek to enable older people to remain independent for longer, more attention needs to be given to the needs of those with visual impairment. As people develop visual impairment, they use adaptive strategies including modifying long-term homes or relocating to more suitable accommodation. In the United Kingdom, aging-in-place strategies include employing statutory lifetime home standards (LTHS) in the home or relocating to sheltered housing to live independently with support available if required.

Methods:

To get a better understanding of the needs of the visually impaired in the home, 12 interviews with six visually impaired occupants of LTHS homes and six from sheltered accommodation were analyzed separately using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Secondly, qualitative synthesis was used to further analyze themes generated from both samples before interview results were conceptualized in two superordinate concepts, namely, “negotiating priorities” and “understanding visual impairment.”

Results:

Participants from both groups had similar needs and were willing to compromise by living with some negative features. Those who coped well with moving utilized various resources.

Conclusions:

These findings will shed more understanding on providing good quality housing for those with visual impairment wanting to live either independently or within healthcare home environments.

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