A social work perspective on the socio-emotional experience of older persons with visual impairments
Thesis (M Social Work(Social Work))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
An exploratory research design together with a qualitative research approach was chosen in order to obtain knowledge, insight and understanding regarding the socio-emotional experience of older persons with visual impairments. The motivation for this study resulted from a lack of recent research related to the socio-emotional experience of older persons with visual impairments. The researcher became aware of this lack of recent literature during a preliminary literature investigation. The need for updated research in this field was confirmed by the Department of Social Work and the Department of Ophthalmology at Tygerberg Hospital. The goal of the study is therefore to gain a better understanding of the socio-emotional experience of older persons with visual impairments in order to provide guidelines for social work intervention with these older persons. The literature study firstly focused on the life-stage of older persons in order to gain a better understanding of the developmental needs and tasks during old age focussing especially on the significance of visual competency in this life-stage. The literature study also included the theoretical framework that guides the social worker’s task, in this study the focus was on the ecological perspective. Primarily, the literature study explored the socio-emotional experiences of older persons affected by visual impairments and the social work interventions that are available for older persons with visual impairments. The researcher decided to involve ten older persons (65 years of age or older) with visual impairments who are from the service-area of Tygerberg Hospital in the research. A qualitative investigation was carried out by means of conducting semi-structured interviews with the aid of an interview guide. The results of the investigation largely confirmed the findings of the literature study namely that visual impairment severely impacts the daily functioning of older persons. These socio-emotional challenges include: aspects related to family and/or friends; psychosocial implications of vision loss on daily activities like: driving, shopping, sport, television, needlework/ knitting, and reading; and a lack of knowledge regarding available services for older persons with visual impairments.