The lived experience of older adults'occupational adaptation following a stroke
Publisher© 2013 Australian Occupational Therapy Journal
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CitationWilliams, S., & Murray, C. (2013). The lived experience of older adults' occupational adaptation following a stroke. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 60(1), 39-47. doi:10.1111/1440-1630.12004
Background/aim: Following a stroke, individuals' abilities may not match the demands of their environment and occupations, resulting in compromised occupational performance. The process of adaptation can enable adjustment of the way occupations are performed to achieve occupational mastery. The purpose of this honours study was to investigate and describe older adults' lived experience of occupational adaptation following a stroke. Methods: An interpretative phenomenological approach was used. Participants in the community were recruited through Domiciliary Care service co-ordinators. In-depth interviews were conducted with three men and two women, aged 68-78 years who had experienced a stroke up to 14 years ago. Data were analysed using the Colazzi's method to formulate themes. Results: Experiencing a stroke is initially a 'shock to the system' and while 'your whole life changes', there are still ways to 'get on and do your best'. The theme 'your whole life changes' had three subthemes: 'apprehension and fear', 'problem solving' and 'stretching the limitations'. Resilience, motivation and effort are the required qualities for adaptive responses after stroke. Coping strategies identified to facilitate occupational mastery include the use of humour, touch, expressing anger, using self-talk, maintaining hope, having a sense of being fortunate and supportive friends and family. Conclusion: These findings support an empowering approach to therapy, facilitating clients to identify and utilise individually appropriate coping strategies to negotiate negative emotions and apprehension and enable the required personal qualities for occupational adaptation.