Do I need it? Do I really need it?” Elderly peoples experiences of unmet assistive technology device needs

Gramstad A, Storli SL, Hamran TDisabil Rehabil Assist Technol.

2012 May;7(3):189-98. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2011.618212. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

SOURCE: Department of Health and Care Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø , Norway.

ABSTRACT: An unmet need for assistive technology devices (ATD) occurs when a person would benefit from ATD, as assessed by health-care professionals or by the person In question. Unmet ATD needs In the elderly population have been documented, but little is known about the experience of living with such unmet needs. Purpose: To investigate the unmet need experiences of home-dwelling elderly people In Norway who have applied for ATD. Method: Nine elderly people who lived at home and had applied for ATD were interviewed. The interview transcripts were analysed withIn a hermeneutical phenomenological perspective. Results: The unmet ATD need experiences involved enduring a difficult situation by adjusting their expectations and activities, being introduced to ATD as a possible solution to the difficulties and negotiating this potential solution In light of the perceived situation. Conclusion: Observers assessments of unmet ATD needs are not readily experienced as such by the elderly. Adjusting expectations and activities enabled the participants to maintaIn meaningful activities but also made the difficulties less likely to be articulated as unmet needs. When encountering elderly people, health-care professionals must be sensitive to the unarticulated needs and potential difficulties of the elderly In performing everyday activities.