Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Jewish women's adaptation to age-related macular degeneration
by Minkin, Anita J., Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2007, 228; 3275279
Abstract (Summary)

Late-onset vision loss as a consequence of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common as the world's population ages. Yet little research has been conducted on the lived experience of late-onset vision loss, and few studies have sought to understand the experience of it among varied religious and ethnic groups. This qualitative study, informed by the perspectives of feminist research methodology and narrative gerontology, attempted to fill this gap by exploring the experience of 10 Jewish women between the ages of 82 and 95 who are visually impaired as a result of ARMD. The purpose of the study was twofold: to understand the experience of ARMD from the perspective of 10 aged Jewish women, and to learn whether Judaism has influenced their adaptation to it. The interview format consisted of three in-depth interviews. In the first interview, which was open-ended, the women were asked to tell their life story. In the second interview, also open-ended, the women were asked to relate their experiences of vision loss. The third interview, which was structured, explored the women's religious beliefs and practices across the lifespan. The results of this study suggest that Judaism has exerted a profound influence on the women's development and is largely responsible for their resilience in adapting to late-onset vision loss and other challenges of old age. In particular, four aspects of Judaism—belief, practice, community, and identity—were enduring resources that the majority of these women drew upon for strength when faced with vision loss. For most of these women, a connection to Judaism appears to have deepened in late life and has contributed significantly in the development of their late-life potential.

Keywords. Age-related macular degeneration, Jewish women, religion and aging, late-onset vision loss.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Robins, Elliot
Commitee:
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 68/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Gerontology, Ophthalmology, Social work, Womens studies, Judaic studies
Keywords: Aging, Jewish, Macular degeneration, Women elderly
Publication Number: 3275279
ISBN: 978-0-549-15662-8
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