The State of Housing of the Elderly with Vision Impaired and the Its Impacts on Quality of Life

  • Lee, So Young (Department of Housing & Interior Design, Chung-Ang University) ;
  • Yoo, Sung Eun (Department of Housing & Interior Design, Kunsan National University)
  • Received : 2015.12.17
  • Accepted : 2016.09.26
  • Published : 2016.12.30


People have experienced physical problems including vision problems with aging; some are normal and some are abnormal. When they have abnormal and impaired vision, they have a lower level of life satisfaction than their sighted peers. For the elderly with sight loss, well-designed housing could be an important indicator for their quality of life. Housing adjustment and modification could help the elderly cope with sight loss, do daily activities more independently, and lead to better quality of life. The purpose of this study is to investigate housing conditions for the elderly with vision impaired, state of housing adjustment or modifications, and the effects of housing conditions on the wellness of the elderly in Korea. For this study, 18 housing cases were investigated and a total number of 65 visually impaired people aged over 55 participated. Housing condition of those participated was poor. Most observed home hazards are level differences in living areas, obstacles in the hallway, confined space that is not allowed structural modification, swing doors from wardrobe or cabinets, color contrast, poor lightings, and etc. Majority of households participated in this study did not make modification or refurbishments, rather many of them tend to adapt themselves to their residential environments. Older adults living in better housing condition and under less difficult environments are likely to have higher life satisfaction. The effects of housing condition on wellness could be more influential when individual capabilities (e.g. health condition) are weaker. The findings underline that with intervention of individual characteristics, the effects of housing and physical environment on negative outcomes of vision loss would get ameliorated or reduced.


Vision Impaired;Housing Condition;Housing Modification;Quality of Life;Elderly


Supported by : Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI)


  1. Allen, C., Milner, J. & Price, D. (2002) Home is where the start is. The housing and urban experiences of visually impaired children Bristol: The Policy Press
  2. Birren, J.E., Lubben, J.E., Rowe, J.C. & Deutchman, D.E (Eds) (1991) The concept and measurement of quality of life in the frail elderly. Academic Press Inc., San Diego, US.
  3. Baynes, M., Lichtenberg, P. A. & Lysack, C. (2006) "Environmental Press, Aging in Place, and Residential Satisfaction of Urban Older Adults." Journal of Applied Social Science, 23(2): 50-77.
  4. Bowling A. (2004) "A taxonomy and overview of quality." In Brown J., Bowling A., Flynn T. (Eds.), Models of quality of life: a taxonomy and systematic review of the literature. FORUM Project, University of Sheffield
  5. Campbell, A.J., Busby, W.J., Robertson, M.C., Lum, C.L., Langlois, J.A. & Morgan, F.C. (1994) "Disease, impairment, disability and social handicap: a community based study of people aged 70 years and over." Disabil, Rehabil., 16: 72-79.
  6. Day, L., Fildes, B., Gordon, I., Fitzharris, M., Flamer, H. & Lord, S. (2002) "Randomized factorial trial of falls prevention among older people living in their own homes." British Medical Journal, 325, 128
  7. Gitlin, L., Winter, l., Dennis, M., Corcoran, M., Schinfeld, S. & Hauck, W. (2006) "A randomized trial of a multicomponent home intervention to reduce functional difficulties in older adults." Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 54(5): 809-816.
  8. Good, G. (2008) "Life satisfaction and quality of life of older New Zealanders with and without impaired vision: a descriptive, comparative." European Journal of Ageing, 5 (3), 223-231.
  9. Hanson, J. & Percival, J. (2005) "The housing and support needs of visually impaired adults living in England today." British Journal of Visual Impairment, 23(3): 102-107.
  10. Hays, R.D., Anderson, R. & Revicki, D. (1993) "Psychometric considerations in evaluating health-related quality of life measures." Quality of Life Research, 2:441-449.
  11. Hwang, Y. (2011) "The effectiveness of facility assembly devices concerning the wayfinding of people with visual handicapped." Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering, 10(2): 297-304.
  12. Kametani, Y., Kishigami, J. & Chibana, K. (2006) "Walking environments for the visually handicapped: Recognition of geometric model spaces in ad laboratory." Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering, 5(1): 121-128.
  13. Lawton, M. P. (1982) "Competence, environmental press, and the adaptation of older people", in M. P. Lawton, P. G. Windley, & T. O. Byerts (Eds.), Aging and the environment: Theoretical approaches, New York: Springer : 33-59.
  14. Lawton, M. P. (1983) "Environment and other determinants of well-being in older people." The Gerontologist, 23(4): 349-357.
  15. Lord, S., Sherrington, C. & Menz, H. (2001) Falls in older people. Risk factors and strategies for prevention. Cambridge University Press.
  16. Lundgren-Lindquist, B. & Jette, A.M. (1990) "Mobility disability among elderly men and women in Sweden" Int. Disabil. Studies, 12:1-5.
  17. Nikolaus, T. & Bach, M. (2003) "Preventing falls in community dwelling frail older people using home intervention test: Results from the randomized falls-HIT trial." Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 51: 300-305.
  18. Motlagh, O., Hong, T., Ismail, N., Ramli, A. & Samin, R. (2009) "A New Path Estimation Strategy for Prediction Blind Persons' Motion in Indoor Environments." Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering, 8(1):371-377.
  19. Ormrod, J. E. (2006) Educational psychology: Developing learners (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall
  20. Percival, J., Hanson, J. & Osipovic, D. (2006) "A positive outlook? The housing needs and aspirations of working age people with visual impairments." Disability & Society, 21(7): 661-675.
  21. Percival, J. & Hanson, J. (2007) "I don't want to live for the day any more': visually impaired people's access to support, housing and independence." The British Journal of Visual Impairment, 25(1), 51-67.
  22. Petch, A. (2007) "Housing needs of people with visual impairments." Community Care: 34-35.
  23. Riazi, A. Boon, M., Bridge, C. & Dain, S. (2012) "Home modification guidelines as recommended by visually impaired people." Journal of Assistive Technologies, 6(4): 270-284.
  24. Steinman, B., Pynoos, J. & Nguyen, A. (2009) "Fall risk in older adults, Roles of self-rated vision, home modifications and limb function." Journal of Aging and Health, 21(5): 655-676.
  25. Wahl1, H., Oswald, F. & Zimprich, D. (1999) "Everyday Competence in Visually Impaired Older Adults: A Case for Person-Environment Perspectives." The Gerontologist, 39 (2): 140-149.
  26. Walker, A. (2005) "A European perspective on quality of life in old age." European Journal of Ageing, 2 (1), 2-12.
  27. WHOQOL Group (1993) "Study protocol for the World Health Organization project to develop a quality of life assessment instrument. (WHOQOL)." Quality of Life Research, 2:153-159.