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Conceptions of aging and engagement in learning for a sample of lifelong intellectually disabled adults

By Gillian M. Boulton-Lewis, Laurie Buys and Jan S. Tedman-Jones


This is a description of conceptions of ageing and engagement with learning for 16 older people (52 to 80 years; mean age 62 years) with a lifelong intellectual disability. The sample also included the care workers and family member/ friend. The older people had sufficient verbal skills to participate in the interviews. Half the sample was in Queensland and half in Victoria. The data are from research to describe a model of active ageing for people who have a lifelong intellectual disability. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using phenomenography to identify conceptions of ageing and an inductive determination of engagement with learning. Semi-hierarchical conceptions of ageing were identified including; no conception, limited awareness, awareness of ageing effects, ageing as requiring preparation, and an overall understanding. Engagement with learning was classified as Low, Medium or High. Most learning occurred at a low level involving observation and copying rather than formalised education. The relationship between participants’ conceptions of ageing and engagement with learning are discussed. Although there is information in the literature about what older people believe constitutes active ageing there is little about active ageing and learning for people with a lifelong intellectual disability

Topics: 160805 Social Change, 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified, 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing, 160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified, Intellectual disability, ageing, learning, active ageing, older adults, computers
Publisher: University of Strathclyde
Year: 2007
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