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Research Article  |   July 2005
Psychosocial Issues in Older Adults’ Adjustment to Vision Loss: Findings From Qualitative Interviews and Focus Groups
Author Affiliations
  • Jodi Teitelman, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Box 980008, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0008; jlteitel@vcu.edu
  • Al Copolillo, PhD, OTR, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Vision / Adjustments to Disability in Daily Occupations
Research Article   |   July 2005
Psychosocial Issues in Older Adults’ Adjustment to Vision Loss: Findings From Qualitative Interviews and Focus Groups
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2005, Vol. 59, 409-417. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.4.409
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2005, Vol. 59, 409-417. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.4.409
Abstract

Although more therapists are responding to the increasing need for visual rehabilitation services for older adults, little is reported in the literature about the emotional experience of vision loss, especially in the words of persons with low vision themselves. This paper reports findings from a qualitative inquiry involving focus groups and in-depth interviews with 15 older adults using or considering using low vision assistive devices (Copolillo & Teitelman, 2005). Although the study’s original intent was to focus primarily on decisions about LVAD use, psychological and social implications of vision loss emerged spontaneously as a dominant area of concern for participants. From an analysis of 154 codes derived from transcripted data, three themes related to psychosocial experience were generated: (a) Emotional Challenges, (b) Negative Emotional Outcomes, and (c) Indicators of Emotional Adaptation. In this article, individual components of the themes are described using illustrative quotes, and potential practice implications for therapists are presented.