Background: There is a large body of research focusing on the experiences of loneliness of older adults, yet little is known about the loneliness experiences of older adults with lifelong disability. In this paper, the authors present some findings from a larger qualitative study on the loneliness experiences of older people with cerebral palsy. Method: Seven older adults with cerebral palsy participated in in-depth interviews. Analysis of the interviews identified overarching themes and recurrent topics in the data. These topics were coded and then grouped under the overarching themes. Results: Six themes were identified. All participants agreed that the themes of communication and social networks are most important when considering loneliness. In this paper, the participants' discussion of these two themes and their related topics are presented. Conclusions: The results demonstrate the need to provide support and training in communication to older people with cerebral palsy who experience communication difficulty, as well as to their communication partners. They also indicate the need for policy development to assist older adults with cerebral palsy to develop and maintain their social networks and form relationships that are rewarding and enriching.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
|Published - Dec 2007