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Research Article  |   May 2001
Occupations and Signs of Reduced Hope: An Explorative Study of Older Adults With Functional Impairments
Author Affiliations
  • Lena Borell, DrMedSc, is Professor, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Elderly Care Research, Division of Occupational Therapy, Karolinska Institutet, Doktorsringen 11, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
  • Margareta Lilja, DrMed, is Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Elderly Care Research, Division of Occupational Therapy, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Gerd Andersson Svidén, OTR, is Doctoral Candidate, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Elderly Care Research, Division of Occupational Therapy, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Gaynor Sadlo, PhD, is Director, School of Healthcare Professions, Division of Occupational Therapy, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Older Adults
Research Article   |   May 2001
Occupations and Signs of Reduced Hope: An Explorative Study of Older Adults With Functional Impairments
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2001, Vol. 55, 311-316. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.3.311
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2001, Vol. 55, 311-316. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.3.311
Abstract

Objective.The purpose of this explorative study was to uncover and interpret the experiences, values, and meaning of being in daily occupations of older adults with functional impairments.

Method.Interviews were conducted with 21 older adults with disabilities who were between 70 and 92 years of age. The interviews occurred in their home environments; 18 of the 21 participants lived alone. The interviews were analyzed using a constant comparative approach.

Findings.Occupational themes related to participation against the odds, retreat from occupation, the need for an invitation from others, and personal meanings related to capacities for occupation were uncovered.

Conclusions.The findings suggest that the loss of positive belief in enjoyable occupations can be a sign of reduced hope in late life. For occupational therapists, whether an older adult has made a conscious choice to withdraw from occupational life or has too few occupational choices is important to distinguish.