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Seniors' self-preservation by maintaining established self and defying deterioration: A grounded theory
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2333-4316
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI).
School of Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
FoU Kronoberg, Växjö, Sweden .
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, ISSN 1748-2623, E-ISSN 1748-2631, Vol. 10, no 11, 30265Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this classic grounded theory study was to understand how seniors who are living independently resolve issues influenced by visual impairment and high fall risk. We interviewed and observed 13 seniors with visual impairment in their homes. We also interviewed six visual instructors with experience from many hundreds of relevant incidents from the same group of seniors. We found that the seniors are resolving their main concern of “remaining themselves as who they used to be” by self-preservation. Within this category, the strategies maintaining the established self and defying deterioration emerged as the most prominent in our data. The theme maintaining the established self is mostly guided by change inertia and includes living the past (retaining past activities, reminiscing, and keeping the home intact) and facading (hiding impairment, leading to avoidance of becoming a burden and to risk juggling). Defying deterioration is a proactive scheme and involves moving (by exercising, adapting activities, using walking aids, driving), adapting (by finding new ways), and networking by sustaining old support networks or finding new networks. Self-preservation is generic human behavior and modifying this theory to other fields may therefore be worthwhile. In addition, health care providers may have use for the theory in fall preventive planning. © 2016 J. K. Eriksson et al.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Järfälla: Co-Action Publishing , 2016. Vol. 10, no 11, 30265
Keyword [en]
Elderly, fall risk, seniors, grounded theory, living independently, self-preservation, visual impairment
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-32231DOI: 10.3402/qhw.v11.30265PubMedID: 27172511ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84982706172OAI: diva2:1038891

Funding: Halland County Research Council, Sweden

Available from: 2016-10-20 Created: 2016-10-20 Last updated: 2016-12-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Being on the trail of ageing: Functional visual ability and risk of falling in an increasingly ageing population
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Being on the trail of ageing: Functional visual ability and risk of falling in an increasingly ageing population
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The elderly population is estimated to increase worldwide. One of the major health determinants identified in this population are injuries where one of the most prevalent causes are falls. The overall aim of this thesis was to describe and explore visual impairment and falls of inpatients and independently living elderly in the community and how daily life activities were influenced by visual ability and risk of falling. Methods in the studies were a quantitative retrospective descriptive design for study I followed by two quantitative retrospective and explorative studies where in study II perceived vision related quality of life and in study III performance-based visual ability were investigated. Study IV was a qualitative explorative study using classic grounded theory. In study I all falls of inpatients at a medical clinic 65 years and older (n=68) were registered during one year. In study II and III a random sample (n=212) of independently living elderly between 70 and 85 years of age participated in both studies. In study IV seven women and six men between 73 and 85 years of age from the two previous studies and six visual instructors (n=19) participated. The data in study I was collected during 2004, study II and III between February 2009 to March 2010 and study IV December 2009 to January 2013. The results in study I showed that most falls in five hospital wards occurred at night and those most affected had an established visual impairment. Almost half the population in study II and III fell at least once. Perceived vision when performing daily life activities showed a positive association between visual impairment and falls in men but not in women (II). No associations were found between performance-based measured visual ability and falls (III). Visually impaired elderly did not consider risk of falling as a problem (IV). Their main concern is to remain themselves as who they used to be which is managed by self- preservation while maintaining their residual selves and resisting self decay. Maintaining residual self is done by living in the past mostly driven by inertia while resisting self decay is a proactive and purposeful driven strategy.

It is a complex issue to do fall risk assessments and planning fall preventive action where the individual’s entire life situation has to be taken into consideration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2014. 85 p.
Örebro Studies in Care Sciences, ISSN 1652-1153 ; 56
elderly, experience, falls, independently living, perceived vision, performance-based vision, visual impairment
National Category
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-32749 (URN)978-91-7529-018-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-30, Haldasalen, Högskolan Halmstad, Halmstad, 11:25 (English)

Medicine doktorsexamen

Available from: 2017-01-10 Created: 2016-12-19 Last updated: 2017-01-10Bibliographically approved

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