A salutogenesis approach to ageing with impairment: The managing and coping experiences of older people ageing with deafblindness

Peter Simcock*, Jill Manthorpe, Anthea Tinker

*Corresponding author for this work

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An understanding of the psychosocial impact of deafblindness on older people is impoverished by a dearth of research in the field. Particularly limited are studies adopting a salutogenesis perspective, in which older deafblind people's coping capacities are explored. Much research focuses on vulnerability to unfavourable outcomes, which may perpetuate negative stereotypes of deafblind people as passive and dependent. Identifying deafblind people as a vulnerable group gives rise to misunderstanding of the impairment, perceptions of incapability and neglect of deafblind people's agency. This paper draws on data from the first United Kingdom-based study of vulnerability from the perspectives of older adults ageing with deafblindness. Findings presented here relate to participants' experiences of managing and coping with their felt vulnerability and ageing with deafblindness. The study adopted interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) as its qualitative approach. In-depth semi-structured interviews were undertaken between October 2014 and July 2016 with eight participants, aged between 48 and 83 years. Data were analysed using an iterative six-step IPA process. Three superordinate themes were identified: taking action to protect self; psychological coping strategies; and accessing and using care and support. Participants' managing and coping strategies, and the care and support they value, respond to elements identified as generating felt vulnerability. Professionals should seek to bolster coping capacity and provide support in ways valued by those ageing with deafblindness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAgeing and Society
Early online date9 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Feb 2022


  • ageing
  • deafblindness
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • salutogenesis


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