Assistive technology and walking aid use by intellectually disabled older people in a residential care center

Eli Carmeli, Ran Levy, Shmuel Barchard, Joav Merrick, Shmuel Barchard, Joav Merrick, Carmit Cahana, Joav Merrick, Carmit Cahana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Older people with intellectual disability (ID) often require assistive technology to promote independence in their daily lives. Objective: To describe the degree of the use of assistive technology and walking aids by older people with ID. Study group: All permanent residents over the age of 50 years living in two different residential care centers in Israel. Methods: Cross-sectional investigation generating data on: type of assistive devices (e.g., wheel-chair, walker, cane, orthopedic shoes, splint, brace, hearing aid, artificial teeth), mode and reason for use were inspected. Results: The majority of participants (>70%) used orthopedic shoes, and 53% used frame or cane for gait. The overall frequency of outdoor use was much greater than that for indoor use, and most participants (81%) used it more than 50% of all time. Of participants who used a gait aid (walker, cane) (n = 16) the majority (85%-90%) used it appropriately and satisfactory. The main reason for using the assistive device was to improve standing balance, gait stability, and enhancing daily activities and functions. The degree of fitting a hearing aid, eye glasses, and prosthetic/artificial teeth was quite disappointing and altogether, only 20%-35% of the subjects practically used them. Conclusions: Caregivers must not only provide for assistive device needs but also consider a mechanism to ensure that people with ID will be able to access and use the equipment they need to promote independence and quality of life in their daily lives appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-74
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal on Disability and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1Department of Physical Therapy, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, 2Neve Ram Residential Care Center, Rechasim, 3National Research Institute of Intellectual Disability, Rechasim,4National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and5 Office of the Medical Director, Division for Mental Retardation, Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel


  • Assistive technology
  • Israel
  • intellectual disability
  • older people
  • residential care centers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Sensory Systems
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Speech and Hearing


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