Abstract

Older people with intellectual disability (ID) are characterized by low physical activity (PA) levels. PA is important for reducing health risks and maintaining adequate fitness levels for performing activities of daily living. The aim of this study was to explore preferences of older adults with ID for specific physical activities, and to gain insight into facilitators and barriers to engaging into PA. Fourteen in-depth interviews and four focus groups were undertaken, with a total of 40 older adults with mild and moderate ID included in the analysis. NVivo software was used for analysing the transcribed verbatim interviews. In total, 30 codes for facilitators and barriers were identified. Themes concerning facilitators to PA were enjoyment, support from others, social contact and friendship, reward, familiarity, and routine of activities. Themes concerning barriers to PA were health and physiological factors, lack of self-confidence, lack of skills, lack of support, transportation problems, costs, and lack of appropriate PA options and materials. The results of the present study suggest that older adults with ID may benefit from specific PA programs, adapted to their individual needs and limitations. Results can be used for developing feasible health promotion programs for older adults with ID.

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