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California State University, Long Beach
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

CSULB Gerontology Student Research 2013

Perceptions of Older Adults with Diverse Visual Impairments About Safety, Independence, Mobility, and Social Connection

Vanessa Camarena

This exploratory study examined how vision affects perceptions about safety, independence, mobility, and social connection in a sample of visually impaired adults aged 60 and older. Utilizing a qualitative approach, the study was conducted using open- ended semi-structured interviews of 15 participants who attend a rehabilitation center for

the visually impaired. Data were collected through tape-recorded interviews and transcribed for accuracy, and then coded using content analysis. Themes that emerged from the interviews included: concerns with curbs, steps, and crowds; being a burden to others and losing the ability to drive; the need for preplanning activities, the ability to relate to others, and having to cope with the loss of a spouse. The results will assist healthcare providers and rehabilitation centers in understanding the experiences of older adults with visual impairments that will better inform the development and provision of individualized programs for older adults with visual impairment.

The Effects of High Contrast Colors in Tableware on the Level of Food Intake of Women with Dementia

Caitlin Nguyen

This study assessed the effects of high contrast colors in tableware on the level of food intake of women with dementia. A pre-post design was implemented to evaluate the difference in solid food and soup intake when served on red tableware as compared to white tableware. Two groups of participants, n = 4 from Facility 1 and n = 5 from Facility 2, were observed for the study. Results from Facility 1 showed there was no significant difference in food intake (t = 1.98,p = 0.06), while results from Facility 2 showed there was a significant difference (t = -2.80, p - 0.010). The study suggested that high visual contrast between food and tableware could promote food intake in women with dementia. Future studies should include larger sample size and extend data collecting periods to obtain a more conclusive result.

Alternative Transportation And Older Adults In Long Beach: Awareness, Planning, And Use

Christine Thayer

Isolation increases when older adults stop driving or riding. Los Angeles County residents' greatest fear is the lack of transportation and ensuing social isolation. This is a preventable loss for older adults and for their communities. This study analyzed the awareness, planning, and use of alternative transportation by older adults in the City of Long Beach, California. It evaluated the relationship of destination and driving to the alternative transportation mode. The examination of existing survey data from 329 respondents over 55 years old found that despite their knowledge about transit alternatives, few older adults used or planned to use them. Participants, however, were interested in learning more about their alternative options. The survey findings agreed with existing literature on the need for increased use of alternative transportation by older adults to destinations supporting independence and healthy living. Recommendations include coordinated education and improved community transportation programs to meet the needs of a growing older adult population.






Vanessa Camarena

Vanessa Camarena, M.S.

B.S. California State University, Fullerton



Vanessa Camarena

Caitlin Nguyen, M.S.

B.S. California State University, Sacramento


Christine A. Thayer, M.S.

Christine Thayer, M.S.

B.S. California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks