Have you ever heard about assistive technology? You should know that it is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative devices dedicated to people with disabilities and elderly people who are losing their autonomy. It helps them to perform activities of daily living or ADLs like mobility, eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, etc. with greater independence. It can improve the effects of disabilities and the loss of autonomy.

The Difference between Assistive and Adaptive technology

This term is often used as the synonym for assistive technology but they are not exactly the same thing. Assistive technology makes reference to an item, a piece of equipment or a product system which helps to increase and maintain functional abilities of disabled people. On the other hand, adaptive technology refers to items which are designed for individuals with disabilities and can sometimes be used by non-disabled persons for a moment. In a nutshell, adaptive technology is just a subset of assistive technology.

Mobility Impairments and Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is most used to create impairments of all types and especially mobility impairments. As a matter of fact, modern wheelchairs often benefit from the technology to substitute the natural mobility of the user. This kind of device permits then to do almost all of the main activities of everyday life. There are different models on the market. Some of them are to be propelled by hand, others by electric motors.

Walkers are other examples of mobility impairments. A walking frame or Rollator is specially designed for disabled persons that need additional support to maintain their balance while walking. The frame generally measures about 12 inches deep and slightly wider than the user to be at the same level as his waist and to adapt to the body perfectly. Of course, walkers for children have different measurements as for those which are made for heavy people. The latest models are height-adjustable for a better practicality.

Furthermore, prosthesis is used to replace a missing body part and belongs to the field of bio mechatronics. This assistive technology to improve mobility requires the use of mechanical devices with human skeleton, nervous system and muscle. The result is impressive and this type of tool can ameliorate motor control that the patient has lost by trauma, injury, defect or disease. It can also be a substitute for a missing body part from birth.

Personal Emergency Response Systems

PERS or Personal Emergency Response Systems, also called Telecare in the United Kingdom, are a very special kind of assistive technology. It uses electronic sensors which are connected to an alarm system in order to help caregivers to manage risk and take care of vulnerable persons in distance. The connected technology is mostly used to help elderly people to stay safe in their home with a better autonomy. There are notably systems with fall detectors, thermometers, unlit gas and flooding sensors that allow to alert a caregiver or a contact center as soon as the senior is in undue danger in his house. The responsible will then undertake the appropriate actions to send help promptly.


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