Using a nationally representative sample of older adults, this dissertation examines the use of assistive technology devices (ATDs) designed to aid with mobility and sensory functioning and to improve one's capacity to perform activities of daily living. It measures the impact of ATDs on the participation levels and living arrangement decisions of those needing help. Although the use of these devices has been found to improve functionality, their effectiveness in relation to further outcomes has not been affirmed. The first essay considers whether an individual's ATD use has a positive impact on active participation in activities such as visiting family and friends, attending religious services, joining clubs, going out for enjoyment and volunteering.
Another advantage of improved physical functioning would be the older individual's ability to remain in his or her home, as opposed to transferring to a residential care setting. Little research has examined the determinants of living in residential care, versus in the community, and none has examined the use of ATDs in this choice. The second essay considers correlations between living arrangements and the use of ATDs. Finally, the third essay considers whether using assistive devices is associated with a lower probability of living in a residential care environment, controlling for many other health, social and economic factors.
|Advisor:||Troyer, Jennifer L.|
|Commitee:||Billings, Stephen, Brandon, William P., Davis, Christine S., Shenk, Dena|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Charlotte|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Gerontology, Public policy|
|Keywords:||Activities of daily living, Assistive devices, Living arrangements, Older adults, Social participation|
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