Understanding and facilitating transition for middle-aged adults with longstanding disabilities

Clare Wilding, Terri Mears, Michael Curtin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Transition is a common experience; yet, there is a lack of understanding about how transition impacts middle-aged adults with a longstanding disability.
Methods: Qualitative methods were used within a needs analysis design. Narrative data were collected via an online or postal written survey and phone or face-to-face interviews, which were transcribed verbatim. Data were inductively analysed and categorised to form descriptions of types of transition experienced, and what enabled or impeded the participants adapting to changes.
Findings: Five types of transition were identified: deterioration of the health of a person with disability; deterioration of the health or death of a primary carer/s; change to living situation; change to daily activities; and seeking change. Five factors that influenced the outcome of transition were discovered: knowledge and understanding; time; attitudes; environments; and support and services.
Conclusions: Adults with a longstanding disability may experience multiple and complex transitions as they age. Rehabilitation and therapy staff can support people with disability to adjust to change by providing information, helping and encouraging others to be accepting and supportive, allowing people time to accommodate to change, and providing a range of flexible and accessible services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-172
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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