Physical activity among older people with sight loss: a qualitative research study to inform policy and practice
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OBJECTIVES: To investigate the ways in which participation in physical activity is prevented or facilitated among older people with acquired sight loss later in life. STUDY DESIGN: Qualitative research. METHODS: Interviews were conducted with 48 visually impaired adults age 60+ years, recruited from a range of settings including local sight loss organisations and via talking newspaper advertisements. Visual impairment was defined by self-report. Data was analysed using a thematic analysis. This research represents a first step toward the development of empirically based practical suggestions for decision-makers and health professionals in terms of supporting - when required - visually impaired older adults participation in physical activity. RESULTS: Six themes were identified that captured why physical activity was prevented or facilitated: disabling environments; organisational opportunities; transport; lack of information; confidence, fear and personal safety; and exercise as medicine. CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations for policy change need to be focused at the societal level. This includes developing more accessible and inclusive environments and providing meaningful information about physical activity to older adults with a visual impairment, and visual impairment in older age to physical activity providers.
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