A part of healthy aging involves evaluating and accepting the changes that may occur in your vision, mobility, and hearing over time, and implementing what you need to live life comfortably with more ease. That said, when you experience discomfort or fear when doing activities or daily tasks, an assistive device may help you overcome these challenges. Assistive devices include medical equipment, mobility aids, information technologies and gadgets to suit many different needs.
Maintaining independence is an important reason why some older adults see technologies that extend autonomy in a positive light. In this case, something like a walker, cane or hearing aid allows individuals who may difficulty maneuvering the ability to stay active and mobile on their own. Aesthetically, these devices are visible items, and older adults may be hesitant to use them as they feel embarrassed or associate a stigma with using them. On the other hand, route planners and navigation systems like Google Maps are great low-profile technology solutions that many older adults can use to help them remember where to go, allowing them to travel safely without having to ask for help along the way.
Not all assistive devices are required to be used 24/7. Things such as corrective eyeglasses, grab bars in the bath, non-slip floor mats, a loud-ringing phone or easy-grip utensils can make greatly improve quality of life. Although many older adults can be reluctant about using an assistive device, they provide many benefits that can help older adults live their lives more autonomously.
If you’re an older adult who may be in need of an assistive device, start by consulting a health care professional and ask whether decision aids are available to help inform your decision-making process. If you are a caregiver, talk to your loved one about their needs, preferences and concerns, while highlighting how these technologies can help read their needs.
For more information on assistive technologies, read through our resources below.