LOCATED AT WESTERN UNIVERSITY, VITAL IS FOCUSED ON CREATING A COLLABORATIVE AND INTERDISCIPLINARY ENVIRONMENT WHERE WE CAN ANSWER COMPLEX QUESTIONS AIMED AT ADDRESSING BARRIERS TO FULL AND EQUITABLE PARTICIPATION FOR OLDER ADULTS AGING WITH VISION LOSS.
WHO WE ARE
Age-related vision loss (ARVL) is a leading cause of disability in Canada and can have a profoundly negative impact on the participation of older adults in meaningful occupation including self care, leisure, productivity, and community mobility.
The Vision Loss in Later Life Research Lab (VITAL) exists to identify barriers to participation for older adults with ARVL. We recommend both personal and environmental strategies to support the full and equitable engagement of older adults in meaningful occupation.
Our research team consists of faculty across Canada and internationally, graduate students, older adults with ARVL, and volunteers. Together, we use critical qualitative approaches to help address those environmental influences that both support as well as constrain the occupational possibilities of older adults aging with vision loss. VITAL works closely with low vision rehabilitation providers and community organizations focused on supporting the needs of persons who are blind or partially sighted. Our work is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Western University. Together our work is having positive impacts on research, policy, and low vision rehabilitation practice.
PILLARS OF OUR RESEARCH
EQUITABLE PARTICIPATION ACROSS THE VISION LOSS JOURNEY
We believe that older adults with age-related vision loss have the right to full and equitable participation in all life domains. VITAL is committed to exploring these barriers to participation and advocating for sustainable change to both rehabilitation practice and policy.
CRITICAL SOCIAL THEORY APPROACHES TO LOW VISION RESEARCH
Grounded theoretically in the key tenets of critical gerontology, critical disability theory, and a critical occupational lens, our lab uses diverse qualitative approaches to understand the lived experiences of older adults aging with vision loss.
ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON OCCUPATIONAL ENGAGEMENT
We believe in moving beyond framing the management of vision loss as a personal responsibility and instead looking at those environmental forces (physical, social, cultural, political, and institutional) that shape the experiences of age-related vision loss for older adults.