University of Oulu

Saarela, K.-M. M., Jämsä, U., Falck, A., Kyngäs, H., & Siira, H. J. (2022). The functional ability of older adults with visual impairments: A 2-year follow-up study. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 40(2), 405–422.

The functional ability of older adults with visual impairments : a 2-year follow-up study

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Author: Saarela, Kaisa-Mari Mirjam1; Jämsä, Ulla2; Falck, Laura3;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management/ GeroNursing Centre, University of Oulu, Finland
2Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, Finland
3Oulu University Hospital, Finland; University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-01-21


This study describes the self-estimated functional ability of older adults with visual impairments (VI) living at home prior to and after 24 months of individual low vision rehabilitation (LVR) according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework. The LVR was carried out according to regular standard of care in Finland. The study provides knowledge that is relevant for improving both LVR as well as other services for older adults living with VI. Thirty-nine older adults with VI initially participated in the study with 28 remaining for the follow-up at 24 months of LVR. Data were collected by an orally administered questionnaire including items from the Oldwellactive Wellness Profile instrument. Data were analyzed using the marginal homogeneity test, and the outcomes were divided into four categories according to the ICF framework. Comparisons between the baseline and 2-year follow-up revealed statistically significant decreases in daily functions, including going outdoors (p = .011), washing oneself (p = .016), taking care for personal hygiene (p = .046), dressing (p = .034), preparing meals (p = .041), and doing heavy housework (p = .046), following 2 years of received LVR. A statistically significant increase in the need for help was also observed during the study period (p = .025). The independence of older adults with VI decreased, and the need for external services or help increased during 24 months after the onset of receiving LVR. Visual problems were shown to widely affect functional ability. Activities and participation dimension together with loneliness are most affected and need attention in individual LVR.

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Series: British journal of visual impairment
ISSN: 0264-6196
ISSN-E: 1744-5809
ISSN-L: 0264-6196
Volume: 40
Issue: 2
Pages: 405 - 422
DOI: 10.1177/0264619621991886
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
3141 Health care science
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2021. Article reuse guidelines: The final authenticated version is available online at