Elderly persons with disabilities in Sweden: their experiences of everyday life

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe the everyday life experiences of 22 elderly persons with physical disabilities in Sweden. The participants were aged between 65 and 91 years. Interviews were conducted and analysed according to a qualitative research approach. Disengagement in activities and social contacts resulted in feelings of resignation and dejection for some participants, while others delegated tasks as a satisfactory alternative. Participants also described how activities and social contacts continued, albeit in a different way, and being active and socializing gave feelings of pleasure and a sense of belonging. While receiving help was experienced as valuable, it also increased the fear of becoming dependent. Occupational therapy intervention should be directed at increasing social contacts and engagements in meaningful activities, as well as strengthening the individual's autonomy. The transferability of the study can be questioned as the sample only included elderly persons with physical disabilities from urban areas. Further research is needed to address the impact of occupational therapy interventions on life satisfaction. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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