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Through Seniors' Eyes: An Exploratory Qualitative Study to Identify Environmental Barriers to and Facilitators of Walking

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-65
JournalThe Canadian Journal of Nursing Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


This qualitative exploratory study examined environmental factors influencing the walking choices of elderly people using the photovoice approach. A total of 13 seniors in Ottawa, Canada, took photographs of barriers to and facilitators of walking in their neighbourhoods. These photos were displayed during 3 focus-group sessions and served as touchstones for discussion. A total of 22 seniors, including 8 of the 13 photographers, participated in the focus-group sessions. The findings show that environmental hazards related to traffic and falls risks can be significant barriers to walking for seniors, and that connectivity can truly exist for the elderly only if convenience, hazard-free routes are available. They also indicate that simple amenities such as benches and washrooms might facilitate walking for seniors. A neighbourhood that is activity-friendly for seniors will also be a good place for everyone else to live, work, and play. The use of photovoice as a method was well received by the participants and provided rich information that may not have been captured through other means.

    Research areas

  • photovoice, urban planning, active living

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