6. Basic Assistive Technology

  1. William C. Mann PhD Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy Director, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology and Aging
  1. Cristina Posse MHS, OT1 and
  2. William C. Mann PhD Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy Director, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology and Aging2

Published Online: 27 JUN 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0471743941.ch6

Smart Technology for Aging, Disability, and Independence: The State of the Science

Smart Technology for Aging, Disability, and Independence: The State of the Science

How to Cite

Posse, C. and Mann, W. C. (2005) Basic Assistive Technology, in Smart Technology for Aging, Disability, and Independence: The State of the Science (ed W. C. Mann), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/0471743941.ch6

Editor Information

  1. University of Florida, PO Box 100164, Gainesville, FL 32610-0164, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Florida, Ph.D. Program in Rehabilitation Science, PO Box 100164, Gainesville, FL 32610-0164, USA

  2. 2

    University of Florida, PO Box 100164, Gainesville, FL 32610-0164, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 JUN 2005
  2. Published Print: 24 JUN 2005

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471696940

Online ISBN: 9780471743941

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Keywords:

  • Low technology;
  • aging;
  • impairment;
  • arthritis;
  • stroke

Summary

Assistive devices are “technological tools that restore or extend human functions…” 1(Pg. 7). The term‘ low- technology devices,’ or basic assistive technology, includes simple items, with few moving parts, that aid in the performance of everyday activities, and are of relatively low cost. 1, 2 While we continue to see rapid advances in smart technology, basic assistive technology devices continue to be widely used and have a positive impact in promoting independence. Basic assistive technology devices can lower health care costs also,3 and shorten hospitalizations,4 making it easier to function in the physical and social environment. 1,5, 6,7 The effectiveness of this technology is however, dependent on the interaction of several factors, from the tangible characteristics of the devices, the needs, interests, and activities of the person, and the training and accessibility of information and resources.8,9,5,10

This chapter provides an overview of basic assistive technology devices, organized by the impairment type they primarily address. We also discuss basic devices used by persons who have arthritis or who are experiencing the long-term effects of stroke. A review of all diseases of later years is not possible in this proposal. However, two are selected because of the many older persons impacted by one (arthritis), and the severity of impact and resultant impairments of the other (stroke). More than half of persons 65+ have arthritis, and, while its severity varies from person to person, for many it impacts on performing everyday activities. Stroke has the potential to result in multiple impairments: vision, hearing, mobility, speech, and cognition. Arthritis and stroke represent diseases of aging that often result in impairments - impairments that can be addressed through the use of assistive technology. With thousands of assistive devices available, this chapter presents an overview of some of the most widely used devices. Research on the use and effectiveness of basic assistive technology is also reviewed in this chapter.