The study recruited older adults with sight loss (aged 60 to 75) to explore their individual experiences of physical activity. Participants were recruited in equal numbers from three geographical locations:
Cornwall (South West)
Loughborough (East Midlands)
London (South East)
As well as physically active and non-active participants, a range of formal and informal physical activities – beyond ‘organised’ sport – were included.
Physically active older adults have lower risk of disease, higher levels of physical and cognitive function, psychosocial well-being and independence than inactive older adults. However, less than 10% of those over 55 years meet the minimum amounts of activity recommended for health. Further, visually impaired older adults, in general, have poorer health than the sighted population. Sight loss is also a significant risk factor for additional medical conditions, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. Knowledge on this specific group needs developing to make meaningful changes in activity levels and subsequent health and wellbeing.
This program of social research will benefit visually impaired older adults by increasing knowledge and understanding of their participation (or lack thereof) in physical activity. This knowledge will have positive implications for the promotion of health and well-being within this population, and has relevance for formulating policy recommendations based on examples of good practice.
To enhance the impact of this research, we are drawing upon the expertise of our Advisory Board which includes representatives from Volunteer Cornwall, the Cornwall Blind Association, the English Federation of Disability Sport, AgeUK, the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences (University of Birmingham) and the participants of the research.