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Getting used to assistive devices: ambivalent experiences from frail elderly people

Journal article
Authors Carina Skymne
Synneve Dahlin-Ivanoff
Lisbeth Claesson
Kajsa Eklund
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 194-203
ISSN 1103-8128
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 194-203
Language en
Keywords 'health promotion', 'frail elderly', 'rehabilitation', 'occupational therapy'
Subject categories Nursing, Older people and ageing


Abstract: The aim was to learn how frail elderly people experienced becoming assistive device users and how assistive devices affected their independence in daily activities. Focus-group methodology was used, including people 80 and older with multiple health problems. Five group discussions were conducted with a total of 18 people including 14 women and four men. Each group met once, for 90-120 minutes, and all discussions were audiotaped. Two themes emerged: Confidence in knowledge and experience and getting used to assistive devices in daily activities. Confidence in knowledge and experience was formed by two categories of experiences from the prescription procedure: trust the expert and trust yourself, and to have confidence in having the right information about assistive devices. Getting used to assistive devices in daily activities was formed by five categories of ambivalent experiences when using assistive devices in daily activities: creates opportunities and limitations; provides security but also raises concerns; the need is seen as transient or permanent; the social environment both encourages and restricts; the physical environment both facilitates and complicates, with less extreme experiences in between. This study indicates that frail elderly people need specifically developed support in the process of becoming assistive device users.

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