“I Like to Chew on the Words..”: Older Adults with Low-Vision Talk about Reading


In this paper, I present research on the experience of reading by older adults (80+) with low-vision. Conducted in collaboration with a Montreal community organization, RECLAIM, we have spoken with older adults about their what they like to read, when they like to read, how they read, what digital devices they have that would allow them to read- in other words, not only their reading needs, but their future reading desires. This research will be used to inform RECLAIM’s future outreach programming, that will provide digital audio access to their membership to books and other genres. In these interviews, three major themes have emerged. First, that reading is not only for information or pleasure, but is a cultural practice tied to various rituals and routines in daily life, from eating to sleeping. Second, the interviews highlight the materiality of the interviewees' preferred medium, including their love of the book, their responses to reading online, and their successes and struggles with the respective "affordances" of different media. Finally, the interviews reveal their deep reflections on aging into the fourth age as a process of challenging changes, but as a swirling dynamic of transitions (Grenier, 2012) that create a set of paradoxes that must be navigated.

Author Information
Kim Sawchuk, Concordia University, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2023
Stream: Media

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon