Experiencing visual impairment in a lifetime home: an interpretative phenomenological inquiry
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Rooney, Clíona; Hadjri, Karim; Mcallister, Keith; Rooney, Máirín; Faith, Verity; Craig, Cathy (2017). Experiencing visual impairment in a lifetime home: an interpretative phenomenological inquiry. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 33 (1), 45-67
Lifetime home standards (LTHS) are a set of standards aimed at making homes more accessible. Previous research, however, indicates that LTHS do not adequately meet the needs of those with sensory impairments. Now, with visual impairment set to increase globally and acknowledging the recognised link between quality of dwelling and wellbeing, this article aims to examine the experiences of visually impaired people living in lifetime homes. The objectives are to investigate existing lifetime homes and to identify whether LTHS meet occupants' needs. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were carried out with six visually impaired people living in homes designed to LTHS in Northern Ireland. Collected data was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis identifying three super-ordinate themes: (1) living with visual impairment; (2) design considerations and (3) coping strategies. A core theme of balance between psychological and physical needs emerged through interconnection of super-ordinate themes. Although there are benefits to living in lifetime homes, negative aspects are also apparent with occupants employing several coping strategies to overcome difficulties. Whilst residents experience negative emotions following visual impairment diagnoses, results suggest that occupants still regard their homes as key places of security and comfort in addition to then highlighting the need for greater consideration of specific individual needs within general guidelines.