Author(s): Horowitz A, Brennan M, Reinhardt JP, Macmillan T
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: One can conceptualize adaptive technology as a resource used by disabled older adults in order to maintain competence in everyday life. This study examined the independent relationships between optical and adaptive device utilization and change in functional disability and depression among older adults with age-related vision impairments. METHODS: We interviewed older adults (n = 438) with a recent vision impairment applying for vision rehabilitation services both pre-service and at the 6-month follow-up. We conducted hierarchical regression analyses with functional disability and depressive symptoms as criteria. In order to identify their independent direct effects, we entered optical and adaptive device use into the final step, preceded by Time 1 criterion scores, demographics, baseline disability or depression (depending on criterion), and total rehabilitation service hours. RESULT: Optical, but not adaptive, device use was significantly associated with declines in functional disability and depressive symptoms over time. DISCUSSION: We propose that these differential effects result from the fact that optical devices optimize residual vision and thus allow for greater continuity in the way tasks are accomplished (i.e., reading still performed visually), whereas use of adaptive aids (e.g., talking books) involves learning new methods in order to compensate for lost functions and thus is not as desirable either functionally or psychologically.
This article was published in J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci
and referenced in Journal of Climatology & Weather Forecasting