Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Kobrak

Second Advisor

Dr. Tom Van Valey

Third Advisor

Dr. Ruth Kaarlela


This study was conducted to create a description of the demographic characteristics, rehabilitation outcomes, and concerns of the family members of a group of people who are older and blind. The sample for this study included 112 people who were blind and over the age of 55. In addition, the study included a description of the concerns of 40 family members who had a spouse or parent who was older and blind.

Five instruments were used to gather data for this study. A survey instrument provided demographic data and reported levels of productivity for each client. A functional assessment form was used to characterize the ability of clients to perform certain tasks at the beginning and after the completion of rehabilitation services. Exit productivity data were also collected. Family members completed a survey to report their concerns regarding their family member at the beginning of services and after rehabilitation services were completed.

The major findings showed that over two-thirds of the individuals served in the program were women. The average age was 78, ranging in age from 55 to 103. Most individuals reported an onset of vision impairment after age 60, and most reported age-related eye pathologies. Individuals in this study also reported significant age-related disabilities. The research also revealed that women generally continue to perform household tasks at much greater levels than men.

The study also revealed strategies for measuring rehabilitation outcomes. In addition, the study indicated that gender and living arrangement appeared to be important variables in establishing gains, sustained levels of performance, and losses that these 112 individuals reported.

Finally, this research indicated that family members reported significant levels of concern regarding their spouse or parent who is older and blind. After rehabilitation services were completed, each group of family members reported lower levels of concern.

This study also reported the characteristics that define rehabilitation concerns of aging and disability, and it further made recommendations for additional areas of research in aging, disability, and the family.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Health Policy Commons