Skip to main content
No Access

Understanding the needs of individuals ageing with impairment

Published Online:pp 144-168

Individuals ageing with pre-existing sensory and mobility impairments are more likely than ever before to survive into older adulthood. Successful ageing may be complicated for these individuals because of compounding challenges related to their impairment and challenges related to ageing. To promote successful ageing, it is necessary to know where human factors interventions could help older adults with sensory or mobility impairments. The goal of this study was to identify the range of challenges in everyday activities that might be experienced by older adults ageing with pre-existing impairments in vision, hearing, or mobility. As a starting point for research in this area, we present data from interviews with subject matter experts, who represented a range of personal and professional experiences with older adults with these specific pre-existing impairments. The interview data revealed what challenges older adults with sensory and mobility impairments face as they age. Emphasis was placed on challenges in technology use, access to community and health resources, and housing. The results have implications for future research as well as for technology design, instruction, and use. Through alleviating everyday challenges, the human factors community can ultimately improve ageing for this understudied sector of adults with pre-existing sensory and mobility impairments.


ageing, deafness, deaf people, disabilities, functional challenges, mobility impairment, visual impairment, pre-existing impairments, human factors, ergonomics, older adult, sensory impairment, technology use, access to resources, community resources, health resources, housing