Start Date

15-10-2009 5:15 PM

End Date

15-10-2009 5:30 PM

Description

As the population ages more people are reaching old age having lived with a long-term physical impairment. This vulnerable group of people has specific needs that are often different from those of someone who reaches old age without a pre-existing physical impairment. This paper focuses on the significance of social support in ameliorating the aging experience when living with long-term physical impairment. It is based on a qualitative study of the aging experiences of eight men and women living in Ontario, Canada who were between the ages of 50 and 68 and had lived with their physical impairment for more than 10 years. Two participants had impairments on account of multiple sclerosis, two on account of rheumatoid arthritis, one had loss of limb, one had muscular dystrophy, one had hip deterioration from age 12, and one had polycystic kidney disease. Data were gathered through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that coping with long-term physical impairment may be a lonely experience when the person lacks a strong network of family and/or friends to offer emotional support as they deal with the constant changes that can occur. Participants felt their experiences of aging with long-term physical impairment were improved when they shared their thoughts, feelings and problems with others. The paper also discusses the significance of gender and marital status with regard to access to social support.

Rebecca Casey is a PhD candidate in Sociology at McMaster University. Her research interests include aging, disability, health and policies. Her MA thesis, at Lakehead University, focused on the experience of aging with long-term physical impairment. The poster presentation is based on this research. Rebecca’s PhD dissertation will use data collected through the Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury (RAACWI), to focus on poverty and to relate it to aging concerns, such as loss of pensions through employment changes, reduced income following an injury and lack of employment opportunities due to reduced physical abilities.

Sharon Dale Stone is Professor of Sociology at Lakehead University, where she is also affiliated with the Women’s Studies, Gerontology, and Masters of Public Health programs. Her research focuses on experiences of living with chronic impairments and issues that arise as a result. She recently published A Change of Plans: Women’s Stories of Hemorrhagic Stroke (2007) and is writing an analysis of the experiences of women who survived a hemorrhagic stroke at a young age. She is currently working with a team of academic researchers and community activists to investigate the experiences of injured workers with the worker’s compensation system.


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Oct 15th, 5:15 PM Oct 15th, 5:30 PM

Poster Introductions III--Aging with Long-Term Physical Impairment: The Significance of Social Support

As the population ages more people are reaching old age having lived with a long-term physical impairment. This vulnerable group of people has specific needs that are often different from those of someone who reaches old age without a pre-existing physical impairment. This paper focuses on the significance of social support in ameliorating the aging experience when living with long-term physical impairment. It is based on a qualitative study of the aging experiences of eight men and women living in Ontario, Canada who were between the ages of 50 and 68 and had lived with their physical impairment for more than 10 years. Two participants had impairments on account of multiple sclerosis, two on account of rheumatoid arthritis, one had loss of limb, one had muscular dystrophy, one had hip deterioration from age 12, and one had polycystic kidney disease. Data were gathered through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that coping with long-term physical impairment may be a lonely experience when the person lacks a strong network of family and/or friends to offer emotional support as they deal with the constant changes that can occur. Participants felt their experiences of aging with long-term physical impairment were improved when they shared their thoughts, feelings and problems with others. The paper also discusses the significance of gender and marital status with regard to access to social support.

Rebecca Casey is a PhD candidate in Sociology at McMaster University. Her research interests include aging, disability, health and policies. Her MA thesis, at Lakehead University, focused on the experience of aging with long-term physical impairment. The poster presentation is based on this research. Rebecca’s PhD dissertation will use data collected through the Research Action Alliance on the Consequences of Work Injury (RAACWI), to focus on poverty and to relate it to aging concerns, such as loss of pensions through employment changes, reduced income following an injury and lack of employment opportunities due to reduced physical abilities.

Sharon Dale Stone is Professor of Sociology at Lakehead University, where she is also affiliated with the Women’s Studies, Gerontology, and Masters of Public Health programs. Her research focuses on experiences of living with chronic impairments and issues that arise as a result. She recently published A Change of Plans: Women’s Stories of Hemorrhagic Stroke (2007) and is writing an analysis of the experiences of women who survived a hemorrhagic stroke at a young age. She is currently working with a team of academic researchers and community activists to investigate the experiences of injured workers with the worker’s compensation system.