Monday, March 19, 2012

Assistive technology: Advancing independence in elderly populations

PhotobucketIn a recent class lecture, I learned about some great opportunities for the aging population, and thought what would be better than sharing my new resource on the All Things Aging blog. As an occupational therapy graduate student who loves the older population, I may be a little biased, but I found the lecture on assistive technology options to be very interesting and helpful for people of any age. You may not need a piece of equipment to help you perform in your daily activities right now, but odds are you know someone who does…or at some point you will. Assistive technology doesn’t always involve a fancy iPod or high tech gadget.

"The term 'assistive technology device' means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

- Assistive Technology Act of 1998

Easter Seals Crossroads has been providing assistive technology solutions in Indiana since 1979. Easter Seals Crossroads joined with the State of Indiana, Bureau of Rehabilitative Services in 2007 to create the Indiana Assistive Technology Act (INDATA) Project. The INDATA Project is one of 56 federally-funded projects intended to enhance access and awareness of assistive technology. Who knew we had such a great resource located right in Indiana! 

The program offers an equipment loan library for residents of Indiana who have a visual, cognitive, hearing, mobility, learning, and other impairments. 

INDATA core services include: 
  • information and referral
  • funding assistance
  • public awareness and education
  • device demonstration
  • device loan
  • re-utilized computers
  • equipment re-utilization
Assistive equipment can range from simple to complex. Equipment may include materials for low vision individuals to write out a check for financial management, adaptive equipment for feeding and eating, mobility devices, or modified devices to help people participate in leisure activities such as sewing or playing cards. Check out the INDATA blog for frequent news about available and useful technologies.

For a list of all 56 federally-funded assistive technology centers, click here.  

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Sara Walton
CAC Graduate Assistant

Sara is pursuing her master's degree in occupational therapy and a graduate certificate in gerontology.

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