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Research Article  |   November 1993
Comparison of Assistive Device Use and Needs of Home-Based Older Persons With Different Impairments
Author Affiliations
  • William C. Mann, PhD, OTR, is Professor and Director, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Aging, 515 Kimball Tower, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214
  • Dianne Hurren, RN, MS, is a Research Support Specialist, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Aging, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
  • Machiko Tomita, PhD, is the Statistician, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Aging, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Article Information
Assistive Technology / Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Special Issue on Assistive Technology
Research Article   |   November 1993
Comparison of Assistive Device Use and Needs of Home-Based Older Persons With Different Impairments
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 1993, Vol. 47, 980-987. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.11.980
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 1993, Vol. 47, 980-987. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.11.980
Abstract

This paper examined assistive device use by noninstitutionalized older persons with visual, cognitive, and physical impairments. One hundred fifty seven persons over 60 years of age (M = 75.5 years) were interviewed in their homes for the University at Buffalo Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center Consumer Assessments Study. Subjects were assigned to one of seven groups according to types of impairment: minimal, physical, visual, visual and physical, cognitive, cognitive and physical, and cognitive and visual. Group assignments were based on scores on the Sickness Impact Profile (physical), Older Americans Resources and Services Program Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire (vision), and Mini Mental State Exam (cognitive). Overall, subjects owned a mean of 13.7 devices, used 10.8 devices (79% of the devices they own), and were satisfied with 9.8 devices (72% of the devices they own). There were significant differences among the impairment groups in numbers of devices owned and used, and in satisfaction with devices. Subjects expressed the need for more devices, especially devices for increasing mobility and assisting with balance. Results suggest a stronger role for occupational therapists in the assessment of assistive device needs of older persons, and in recommending devices and training persons in their use.