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Aging Among Women with Disabilities

Dissertation Proposal


Document from the year 2009 in the subject Nursing Science, grade: B, The University of Texas at Austin, language: English, abstract: 'No matter how much I was admired by others or by myself, there was still much more I had to face. 'My Polio' and 'My Accident' were not just my past; they were part of my present and my future' (Zola, 1982, p.84). There are 53.9 million Americans with a disability (Jans & Stoddard, 1999); 28.6 million are women and their numbers are increasing (Gerschick, 2000). The increase is partly due to a longer lifespan for persons with disabilities, which is most pronounced among those aging with a disability since childhood (Campbell & Barras, 1999; Campbell, Sheets & Strong, 1999). For example, the average life span has increased for the nearly 700,000 with cerebral palsy and the almost 1 million polio survivors (Campbell, 1998). Regretfully, their increased life span has been accompanied by health and social problems (Campbell; Harrison & Stuifbergen, 2001). Women with disabilities experience high rates of poverty, negative stereotypes, high rates of institutionalization (G. Frank, 2000) and increased secondary conditions and co-morbidities with aging (Harrison & Stuifbergen, 2001). These problems are costly to the individual, the family and society. The health risks associated with aging with a disability have prompted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to include the removal of health disparities amongst people with disabilities as one of its 2010 goals, which follows the goal to remove the disparities associated with gender (U.S. DHHS, 2000). The research available on aging and disability in women has focused primarily upon aging as a process of biological decline. There is little understanding of the