Most studies about ownership and usage of assistive devices in the elder population have focused on elders with disabilities. This study interviewed a random sample of 1,405 older people living in communities in South Wales. Each person was interviewed in his or her home by a trained interviewer. The following devices were found with the first number indicating a person less than 75 years old and the second number indicating a person older than 75 years: Walking stick (24%, 39%); walking frame (3%, 3%); wheelchair (2%, 6%); lavatory rail (9%, 7%); raised lavatory seat (3%, 8%); commode (6%, 15%); bathroom rail (18%, 32%); non-slip bath mat (53%, 57%); stair rail (13%, 17%), and bed hoist (less than 1%, 1%).
The most common aid (disregarding hearing aids or eyeglasses) was a walking stick (74%). As people aged, their use of assistive devices increased. Ownership of a wheelchair, walking frame or commode increased when the user was living with others. This could be because younger people in the house increased the user's awareness of the assistive device. There wasn't any age or gender differences in the ownership of eyeglasses (97% had them), but the ownership of hearing aids increased with age. Most assistive devices were used regularly. Other key points were:
Assistive device ownership varies with age, gender, living arrangements, and increasing disability.
People with severe disabilities need but do not own certain basic and relatively inexpensive appliances.
Awareness needs to be raised regarding the value of assistive devices amongst elderly people and their caregivers.
The needs of the elderly in regards to equipment could be done as part of an annual health check.
Because this study was so large and had a random sample, the researchers thought it was applicable the general population of Great Britain. #456
Edwards, N. I. (1998, July). Ownership and use of assistive devices amongst older people in the community. Age and aging.