Publications

Successful Aging Through Successful Accommodation With Assistive Devices

Objectives: To provide a profile of older adults who successfully accommodate declines in capacity by using assistive devices.

Method: Using the National Health and Aging Trends Study, we provide national estimates of prevalent, incident, and persistent successful accommodation of mobility and self-care activity limitations. For incident and persistent accommodation groups, we describe their subjective wellbeing and participation restrictions, health and functioning, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and acquisition of assistive devices and environmental features. We estimate regression models predicting incident and persistent successful accommodation and the extent of wellbeing and participation restrictions for incident and persistent groups (vs. those who are fully able).

Results: Nearly one-quarter of older adults have put in place accommodations that allow them to carry out daily activities with no assistance or difficulty. In adjusted models, incident and persistent successful accommodation is more common for those ages 80-89, those with more children, and those living in homes with environmental features already installed; wellbeing levels for these groups are similar and participation restrictions only slightly below those who are fully able.

Discussion: A focus on facilitating successful accommodation among those who experience declines in capacity may be an effective means of promoting participation and wellbeing in later life.