This paper examined assistive device use by noninstitutionalized older persons with visual, cognitive, and physical impairments. One hundred fifty seven persons over 60 years of age (M = 75.5 years) were interviewed in their homes for the University at Buffalo Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center Consumer Assessments Study. Subjects were assigned to one of seven groups according to types of impairment: minimal, physical, visual, visual and physical, cognitive, cognitive and physical, and cognitive and visual. Group assignments were based on scores on the Sickness Impact Profile (physical), Older Americans Resources and Services Program Multidimensional Functional Assessment Questionnaire (vision), and Mini Mental State Exam (cognitive). Overall, subjects owned a mean of 13.7 devices, used 10.8 devices (79% of the devices they own), and were satisfied with 9.8 devices (72% of the devices they own). There were significant differences among the impairment groups in numbers of devices owned and used, and in satisfaction with devices. Subjects expressed the need for more devices, especially devices for increasing mobility and assisting with balance. Results suggest a stronger role for occupational therapists in the assessment of assistive device needs of older persons, and in recommending devices and training persons in their use.

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