Assessing assistive device needs of community dwelling older adults in tompkins county

Lynn Gitlow, Ithaca College
Emily Eastman, Ithaca College
Amy Gefell, Ithaca College
Laura Morehouse, Ithaca College
Colleen O'Connor, Ithaca College
Christina Spangenberg, Ithaca College


Research has shown that for older adults (OAs), remaining at home encourages engagement in meaningful occupation. Physical and cognitive changes associated with aging result in functional changes that are a barrier to remaining independent. Assistive technology (AT) can be beneficial for OAs to maintain independence. In order to meet the AT needs of OAs living in Tompkins County, the university-based researchers were asked by the Finger Lakes Independence Center (FLIC) in Ithaca, New York, to identify the current AT needs of OAs who they serve. This is a market research study utilizing a nonexperimental descriptive survey design. After pilot testing the survey with experts to ensure content validity, the survey was given to a convenience sample of OAs. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. Review of the data indicates that magnification devices, laundry baskets on wheels, and amplified phone devices were the most frequently identified AT-related needs of participants. The research findings will be used by FLIC to augment the inventory of their AT loan program to better meet the needs of the OAs who they serve. © 2012 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.