Assistive devices for the elderly

Assistive devices for the elderly

Many elderly persons with functional deficits may benefit from the use of various assistive devices. Wasson and associates review practical considerations in the recognition of functional deficits and the prescription of assistive devices for common functional problems in the elderly.

The first step in managing a disability is to make the diagnosis that a functional problem exists. The authors present rapid screening criteria for functional evaluation of hearing, vision, mastication/taste, upper and lower extremities and feet. Once the problem is recognized and diagnosed, treatment can begin. If significant functional deficits remain after treatment, additional goals can be set and assistive devices prescribed.

In many patients, function can be improved with instruction regarding the proper use of assistive devices, such as magnifiers, splints, canes, crutches, wheelchairs and special shoes. Once an assistive device is prescribed, the patient should be reevaluated to ensure that intervention has been beneficial and is not exacerbating other problems. Journal of General Internal Medicine, January/February 1990, vol. 5, p. 46.)

COPYRIGHT 1990 American Academy of Family Physicians

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group