Objective.The purpose of this review was to identify the major findings of published research on the factors influencing older adults’ use of adaptive equipment.

Method.Fourteen studies involving an older adult sample were selected from major electronic bibliographic databases searched with a series of key words related to aging and equipment use. Results of these studies were compared to determine the most common factors influencing the use of adaptive equipment among older adults.

Results.Although the reviewed studies varied in their sampling strategies and designs, many results were similar. Between 47% and 82% of prescribed equipment continues to be used by older adults, with use decreasing over time. Findings from published studies show that equipment suitability, adequate training, and pre-prescription home visits contribute to these rates of use. Lack of fit among the person, his or her environment, and the equipment was the primary reason identified for nonuse.

Conclusion.The results of the published research provide practicing occupational therapists with a range of factors to consider when prescribing adaptive equipment to older adults. Although the findings of this review demonstrate remarkable consistency across existing research findings, future research is needed to identify what constitutes optimal device use, what factors provide personal motivation for using assistive devices, and how home visits influence use.

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