ERIC Number: EJ1082427
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
How Do People with Learning Disabilities Experience and Make Sense of the Ageing Process?
Newberry, Gayle; Martin, Carol; Robbins, Lorna
British Journal of Learning Disabilities, v43 n4 p285-292 Dec 2015
Background: Not enough is currently known about how people with learning disabilities experience and understand the ageing process. This is particularly important as the population of older people with learning disabilities is growing due to increased life expectancy. This article draws on the first author's doctoral research study, which aimed to fill this gap in the literature by exploring how people with learning disabilities experience and make sense of the ageing process and old age. Materials and Methods: Seven people with learning disabilities aged 60 or more were interviewed, and their accounts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. This approach allows the participant's lived experience to be explored in detail. Participants' accounts were analysed individually, followed by a group analysis. This article presents the results of the group analysis, illustrated by quotes from individuals. Results: The master themes arising from the group analysis were as follows: quality of relationships is central to enjoyment of life, including subthemes on the importance of affection and companionship, distress at lack of closeness and anxiety about ability to satisfy others; powerlessness; needing a sense of purpose; and making sense of getting older, including subthemes on reactions to changes with age, life review and looking to the future. Conclusions: Clinical implications of the findings include the need for services to support older people with learning disabilities in maintaining friendships and meaningful activities. This study demonstrates that some older people with learning disabilities can engage in a process of life review and raises the possibility that learning disability services could play a useful role in facilitating this process. Understanding of the ageing process varied between participants and tended towards a negative, stereotypical view of ageing. The findings suggest that people with learning disabilities could benefit from psychoeducation on the ageing process to aid them in making sense of the changes they experience as they get older.
Descriptors: Intellectual Disability, Aging (Individuals), Older Adults, Coping, Interviews, Phenomenology, Experience, Interpersonal Relationship, Stress Variables, Anxiety, Friendship
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A