This secondary analysis of data drawn from a descriptive phenomenological study explored how older adults with low vision experience and manage community mobility. Participants included 34 urban and rural older adults, age 70 years and older, who were not using low-vision-rehabilitation services. The findings convey a core element of the experience of community mobility for participants: living with a pervasive sense of fear regarding one’s body and way of being. Participants continually gauged risks associated with mobility and engaged in risk avoidance and management strategies. Community mobility was often restricted by participants because of perceived risks, leading to reduced participation in a range of physical, social, and other types of activities. Further research on environmental factors mediating community mobility and on strategies effective in maintaining mobility among seniors with low vision is essential to optimize participation, health, and service delivery.
The authors are with the School of Occupational Therapy, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada, N6G 1H1.