Maintaining identity and relationships when using mobility aids

Allyson Rogers*, Charles Musselwhite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


Ageing issues are being discussed within transport and mobility fields more frequently as both the number and share of the world population is ageing. Older people are more likely to have mobility and accessibility difficulties, so the wider relationships between mobility and ageing, particularly the consequences on health and well-being, are important to study.

Using an ethnographic grounded theory approach, this research combined observation, sound recording, interviewing and discussion as methods of collecting data to understand the lived experience of older people who use mobility aids. Older mobility aid users (n = 11) and their family members or carers (n = 6) were recruited to provide in-depth knowledge of mobility aid use from an experiential perspective. Using constant comparative analysis, mobility aid use by older people in the built environment has been described and analysed.

The resulting themes identify an interconnecting array of physical, psychological, social and emotional barriers to participation and inclusion. Themes of identity, relationships and infrastructure with its interlinking systems emerge from the data leading to a model identifying a ‘Feedback loop of obstacles to mobility aid use by older people’.

Use of a mobility aid impacts upon identity and relationships, which are intrinsically linked and further exacerbated by infrastructural and systemic issues. Mobility aids assist and enable mobility, however, the obstacles faced when using mobility aids result in necessitating additional effort to maintain identity and relationships whilst maintaining mobility in the built environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101545
JournalJournal of Transport & Health
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2023


  • Ageing
  • Gerontology
  • Go-along interviews
  • Identity
  • Infrastructure
  • Mobilities
  • Mobility aids


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