The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain understanding of the lived experience of senior stroke survivors who used prescribed wheelchairs in their homes and communities. The study involved semistructured, in-depth interviews that were conducted with 10 participants, ages 70 to 80 years old, who had used a wheelchair for a mean of 5.6 years. A constant comparative inductive method of analysis was performed.
Three different categories of acceptance of wheelchair use were identified; reluctant acceptance, grateful acceptance, and internal acceptance. Increased mobility, varied social response, and loss of some valued roles were common to all three wheelchair acceptance categories. Aspects of level of burden, freedom, and spontaneity varied in degree among the three acceptance categories. As the wheelchair provided opportunity for increased continuity in the lives of these stroke survivors, it appeared to be accepted more fully and viewed more positively. Prestroke lifestyle and values need to be carefully considered in order to maximize acceptance of wheelchair use among senior stroke survivors.