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Research Article  |   January 2008
Changes in Impairment Level, Functional Status, and Use of Assistive Devices by Older People With Depressive Symptoms
Author Affiliations
  • William C. Mann, OTR, PhD, is Chairperson and Distinguished Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100164, Gainesville, FL 32610-0164; wmann@phhp.ufl.edu
  • Jessica L. Johnson, MA, OTR/L, is Research Assistant, RERC-Tech-Aging, Rehabilitation Science Doctoral Program, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Lisa G. Lynch, MHS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist and Owner, Creative Therapy Works, Inc., Lake Worth, FL
  • Michael D. Justiss, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Indiana University–Purdue University at Indianapolis
  • Machiko Tomita, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • Samuel S. Wu, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, University of Florida, Gainesville
Article Information
Assistive Technology / Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Mental Health / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Assistive Technology
Research Article   |   January 2008
Changes in Impairment Level, Functional Status, and Use of Assistive Devices by Older People With Depressive Symptoms
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2008, Vol. 62, 9-17. doi:10.5014/ajot.62.1.9
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2008, Vol. 62, 9-17. doi:10.5014/ajot.62.1.9
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We sought to understand how functional status, impairment level, and use of assistive devices change over 3 years for older adults with depressive symptoms. We further explored factors that predict change in severity of depressive symptoms.

METHOD. This study used data from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Aging Consumer Assessment Study, a longitudinal study of coping strategies of elders with disabilities. Seventy-three participants with depressive symptoms were interviewed at baseline and 3 years later.

RESULTS. During 3 years, participants experienced increased physical disability (p = .001), a decline in severity of depressive symptoms (p = .03), and an increase in the total number of assistive devices owned.

CONCLUSION. A significant number of older adults will experience a decrease in depressive symptoms over 3 years, despite an increase in physical disability. They also will obtain more assistive devices as they age.