Aging in Place: Technology and Independence for Community-Dwelling Older Adults

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Primary Focus: Productive Aging

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the rationale for the use of technology-based interventions for community-dwelling older adults.
  2. Describe three current technologies that can be used to positively impact occupational performance for community-dwelling older adults.
  3. Describe the barriers to successful implementation of technology-based interventions for community-dwelling older adults.


The population of older adults in the U.S. continues to rise, as does the desire to remain in one’s own home, a concept known as “aging in place” (Piau, Campo, Rumeau, Vellas, & Nourhashémi, 2014; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Age-related changes and chronic disabilities contribute to decreased independence in daily life tasks. Decreased independence and safety can often lead to institutionalization of older adults, raising overall healthcare costs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Current research acknowledges technology as a feasible means of improving independence in everyday activities for community-dwelling older adults. The authors completed a replicable journal search to identify evidence for use of technology and the impact on occupational performance in community-dwelling older adults. A search using PubMed, CINAHL, and Ovid, with MeSH terms and keywords related to community-dwelling older adults, assistive technologies, and outcomes related to occupational performance in a variety of daily tasks yielded eleven articles. Articles were critically appraised using critical review forms developed by Law et al. (1998) and Letts et al. (2007) for quantitative and qualitative studies, respectively. This session will present the evidence, including increased task performance and reduced caregiver burden for older adults who utilized technology-based interventions. The studies were limited by poor research design, underdeveloped technology, and mixed acceptance of interventions. Despite the limitations, the findings provide pertinent and actionable research to occupational therapists, a group uniquely suited to implement these technologies to support independence amongst the aging population residing in the community.

Level of Material Being Presented: Introductory

Target Audience: Mixed


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). The state of aging health in America 2013. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cdc.gov/aging/data/index.htm

Law, M., Stewart, D., Pollock, N., Letts, L., Bosch, J., & Westmorland, M. (1998). Critical review form - quantitative studies. Retrieved from www.jefferson.blackboard.com

Letts, L., Wilkins, S., Law, M., Stewart, D., Bosch, J., & Westmorland, M. (2007). Critical review form - qualitative studies (Version 2.0). Retrieved from www.jefferson.blackboard.com

Piau, A., Campo, E., Rumeau, P., Vellas, B., & Nourhashémi F. (2014). Aging society and gerontechnology: A solution for an independent living? The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, 18(1), 97-112.

Presentation: 37:51