A Survey of Older Adult Services and Sight Loss in Ireland and Eight Similar Jurisdictions

Simon Hayhoe, Danny Cahill

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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This presentation discusses a grounded methodology study of older adult services in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) and eight other similar jurisdictions for the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI). The aims of the study were to:
• inform inclusive service provision by the NCBI for older adults (people over sixty-five years of age) and significantly older adults (people over eighty years of age)
• examine why some older adults and significantly older adults in RoI do not fully engage with NCBI’s services
• examine the effects of NCBI’s services on health and well-being, particularly mental health
• inform the NCBI’s referral process of people with low or no vision

The study was conducted in three phases, each of which was designed to guide the development of training and policy development at the NCBI. These three phases were:
• Phase One – A survey of demographic information from the Irish Census, NCBI and academic literature to identify vulnerable populations, and the geographical concentrations and distributions of older adults and significantly older adults.
• Phase Two – A survey of services by agencies (governmental and non-governmental) in jurisdictions that were found to bear a similarity to the RoI (these jurisdictions included countries, states, provinces, etc.). Similarity was judged on a group of variables and cultural and political similarity.
• Phase Three - A survey of academic literature on the nature, needs and effectiveness of older adult services, with special reference to jurisdictions with similar state systems of social services. This literature was identified through a search of academic databases, in either academic libraries or Web based academic databases - documents published within the last five years were prioritised during the search of academic literature.

Data Analysis
The data analysis in the study was conducted using a model of inclusive capital as an instrument to determine the nature of support.

The study has two main findings:
• First, there needs to be further foci on physical and mental health, multiple impairments, significantly older adult’s social needs and end-of-life care in policy development.
• Second, services need to emphasise practical issues of independent living and re-education, developing joined-up services such as transport and well-being, and joining-up similar services across related agencies - e.g. services related to hearing loss and dementia.

The study concludes that NCBI and other smaller jurisdictions’ services have the advantage that they are closer to their clients and are one-stop-shops for older and significantly older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAcceptance date - 7 Apr 2020
EventVision2020+1: Imagining the Impossible - The National Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 11 Jul 202115 Jul 2021
Conference number: 13


Abbreviated titleVision2020
Internet address


  • visual impairment
  • blindness
  • Older Adults
  • Ageing
  • Public services
  • older adult services
  • Ireland
  • small countries


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