Ageing with a unique impairment: a systematically conducted review of older deafblind people's experiences

Peter Simcock

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Little is known about the experiences of people ageing with impairments; social gerontology has largely focused on those ageing into disability rather than those ageing with disability. This paper synthesises existing knowledge to determine what is known about the experiences of those ageing with deafblindness. A comprehensive literature search was undertaken between April 2013 and May 2014. The review method was informed by systematic review principles. A total of 24 references were identified for inclusion. No studies examining deafblind people's experience of ageing and old age specifically were found, suggesting that those ageing with deafblindness are an under-studied sub-group within the deafblind population. However, deafblind people describe ageing experiences in studies exploring their lives generally, and in personal accounts of living with the impairment. Practitioner-authored material also explores the topic. Similarities in experience were identified between those ageing with deafblindness and those ageing with other impairments: ongoing change and consequent need for adaptation; a particular relationship between ageing and impairment; a sense that whilst one can learn adaptive strategies having lived with impairment for many years, it does not necessarily get easier; and a particular relationship with care and support services. These experiences illustrate the unique nature of ageing with impairment, and challenge gerontologists to engage in further research and theorising in the field of disability in later life.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1703-1742
    Number of pages40
    JournalAgeing and Society
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 18 Aug 2016


    • deafblindness
    • dual sensory impairment
    • ageing with disability


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