Title

Examining social determinants in use of assistive technology for race/ethnic groups of older adults

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Department/School

Social Work

Publication Title

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Abstract

© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Objective: Assistive technologies (AT) can compensate for activity limitations and loss of physical functioning. Little is known regarding how minority older adults differ in AT use as they age. This study examined race and ethnic differences in AT use among a nationally representative sample of older adults in the United States. Design: Weighted logistic regression analyses were conducted using the 2012 Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), collected annually by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study sample included 282,825 non-Hispanic White, African American, Asian and non-White Hispanic older adults. Activity limitation, health care access, overall health status and sociodemographic characteristics were included as variables in the analysis. Interaction analyses were conducted to examine the moderating effect of race/ethnicity on social determinants with AT use. Results: Results indicated that 13.5% of older adults reported the use of an AT. African American older adults had the highest percentage of AT use (21.0%), and Asian older adults had the lowest (5.1%). Those who were 85years and older, reported an activity limitation, were unmarried and in poor health were most likely to use an AT. Having health insurance was significantly associated with higher AT use for non-Hispanic Whites (OR = 1.66, p<0.001) and non-White Hispanics (OR = 1.98, p<0.01), but not African Americans and Asians. Conclusion: Health professionals can promote access and address barriers in AT use, particularly in regard to accessibility and acceptability among minority older adults.Implications for rehabilitation African-Americans older adults were most likely to use ATs, and Asian older adults the least Older adults who were 85 years and older, reported an activity limitation, were unmarried and in poor health were most likely to use an AT Different social determinants to AT use were found among race/ethnic groups, highlighting the need to promote access and address barriers to health care utilization.

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