Assistive Technology for the Frail Elderly: An Introduction and Overview


This paper, prepared by a DALTCP student intern, provides an overview of assistive technology for the frail elderly. According to the Office of Technology Assessment, in 1985 there were over 18,000 devices available to aid the functionally impaired elderly. The number has grown since then. The devices range in sophistication from a modified eating utensil to computerized voice simulators. The paper discusses barriers to the acceptance of assistive technology, such as inadequate training of users and inappropriate match of equipment of needs. The author concludes that properly used, assistive technology can help improve the quality of life for the frail elderly and enable many people to remain functionally independent. Assistive devices can also alleviate some of the burden of informal caregivers. From a research perspective, the overall costs, benefits and financing of assistive technology need to be better understood. [19 PDF pages]

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