The wellbeing needs of older people living with sight loss
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
Principal investigator: Professor Christina Victor
Our current evidence base regarding wellbeing among older people with sight loss is limited because studies:- (a) focus upon either subjective (hedonic) or activity/engagement (eudemonic) wellbeing or specific domains of activity/engagement such as loneliness/isolation and neglect both holistic perspectives and/or how wellbeing is experienced on a daily basis via such methods as day reconstruction in which participants reflect on the pleasure and value of specific activities undertaken on a daily basis; (b) are cross-sectional and not longitudinal that would enable us to see how wellbeing changes as visually impaired older adults’ age; (c) treat the visually impaired population as homogeneous group and do not differentiate those ageing with a visual impairment and those for whom visual impairment is a new facet of their lives and those where their visual impairment is deteriorating as compared to those where it is not.
We will address these evidence gaps by :
- Investigating 3 complementary approaches to understanding the wellbeing of older adults with sight toss: subjective (hedonic), meaning and engagement (eudemonic) and experienced wellbeing and how these are linked with physical mobility;
- Considering how the experience of these dimensions of wellbeing vary longitudinally, and between different subgroups of older people with sight loss (gender, age, ethnicity, employment, lifelong and new onset sight loss) and key transitions (retirement, bereavement and onset of chronic illness) and how these effect mobility and social engagement;
- Investigating how older people with sight loss understand and experience wellbeing and how this may vary between different sub groups of older people and
- Reviewing and evaluating non-clinical interventions designed to promote the wellbeing of older people with sight loss. To answer our research questions we will conduct a mixed methods study consisting of the following elements (a) a systematic review of existing literature on wellbeing and sight loss for older adults to update and enhance those focussing upon health related quality of life ; quality of life, emotional wellbeing and qualitative studies and interventions to promote wellbeing; (b) secondary analysis of English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and (c) investigate how wellbeing is defined and experienced by older people with sight loss using in-depth interviews using a theoretically informed sampling framework focussing upon those ageing with sight loss and those for whom sight loss in later is a new challenge.