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Use, non-use and perceived unmet needs of assistive technology among Swedish people in the third age

Use, non-use and perceived unmet needs of assistive technology among Swedish people in the third age

Disability and Rehabilitation. Assistive Technology 11(3): 195-201

To describe the most prominent use of or perceived unmet need of assistive technology (AT) and to compare the characteristics of users, non-users and those expressing perceived unmet need with respect to overall health, independence in everyday life, environmental barriers and socio-demographic features. The study is based on data collected in the "Home and Health in the Third Age Project". In all, 371 individuals participated and data were collected during home visits in southern Sweden by interviewers trained specifically for this project. The data collection comprised well-proven self-report scales and observational formats on the home environment and health indicators as well as questions about basic demographics and socio-structural data. The proportion of users constituted almost half of the total sample. The most common types of AT used were for furnishing/adaptation (35%) and the highest perceived unmet need concerned AT for communication, in total 8%. Those cohabiting were to a higher extent users of AT for furnishing/adaptation, compared to those who lived alone. A higher perceived unmet need was seen among those who lived alone compared with cohabiting people. These findings are of importance for future planning and development of policy to improve health services for the new generation of elderly. Implications for Rehabilitation In order to support the ageing process, the need for assistive technology has to be monitored in the third age. Assistive technology for furnishings and adaptation are frequently used by individuals in their third age and are important to support ageing in the home. Not only do health aspects impact the use of assistive technology, but gender, living conditions and social situation also matter - older men especially need to be monitored thoroughly according to their perceived unmet needs as well as do older persons living alone.

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Accession: 056807032

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PMID: 25238550

DOI: 10.3109/17483107.2014.961180

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