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Title: How do people with learning difficulties experience and make sense of the aging process?
Author: Newberry, Gayle
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 8462
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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Not enough is currently known about how people with learning disabilities experience and understand the ageing process. This is particularly important as the population of older people with learning disabilities is growing due to increased life expectancy. This study aims to fill this gap in the literature by exploring how people with learning disabilities experience and make sense of the ageing process and old age. Seven people with learning disabilities aged 60 or over were interviewed, and their accounts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. An individual analysis of each participant’s account is presented, followed by the group analysis. The master themes arising from the group analysis were: quality of relationships is central to enjoyment of life, including sub-themes on the importance of affection and companionship, distress at lack of closeness, and anxiety about ability to satisfy others; powerlessness; needing a sense of purpose; and making sense of getting older, including sub-themes on reactions to changes with age, life review and looking to the future. The findings of the study are discussed in relation to the existing literature. Clinical implications of the findings include the need for services to support older people with learning disabilities in maintaining friendships and meaningful activities. This study demonstrates that some older people with learning disabilities can engage in a process of life review and learning disability services could play a useful role in facilitating this process. Understanding of the ageing process varied between participants, and tended towards a negative, stereotypical view of ageing. The findings suggest that people with learning disabilities could benefit from psychoeducation on the ageing process to aid them in making sense of the changes they experience as they get older.
Supervisor: Martin, C. ; Robbins, L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available