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Technology Review: Assistive Technologies for Functional Improvement (Discussion Draft)

2010 | Download

Created by PHI's Center for Technology and Aging, this technology review focuses on assistive technologies that help older adults with physical, sensory, and communications challenges to maintain independence and live safely at home or in other community-based settings.

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The paper begins by describing the prevalence and types of disabilities that are experienced by older adults (65 years and older). The paper then describes four types of challenges that may be mitigated by assistive technologies: 1) physical or mobility challenges, including falls, 2) hearing impairment, 3) vision impairment, and 4) communication and information-access challenges. The review includes examples of devices and products that address each of these challenges, but it is not meant to be exhaustive. The paper closes with a discussion of adoption and diffusion challenges, and legislation that can address these challenges.

PHI's Center for Technology and Aging supports more rapid adoption and diffusion of technologies that enhance independence and improve home and community-based care for older adults. Technology reviews, such as this one on assistive technology, inform and guide the Center’s priorities and initiatives, and advance its mission to serve as an independent, non-profit resource for improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of long-term care services. Assistive technologies are one of the Center’s potential technology focus areas for grants, research, and public policy involvement.