• Article

The Impact of Assistive Technologies on Formal and Informal Home Care

Purpose of the Study: Assistive technologies help people with disabilities compensate for their impairments. This study assessed which of 5 categories of assistive technologies-indoor/outdoor mobility, bed transfer, bathing, toileting, and telephone assistance-were substitutes or complements for human personal assistance by differentiating between total and formal personal assistance service (PAS) hours. DESIGN AND METHODS: The study analyzed 2004 National Long-Term Care Survey community-dwelling respondents receiving assistance with activities of daily living. Ordinary least squares (OLS) on total PAS hours was estimated on the entire sample, and logit and OLS models were estimated on the likelihood and hours of formal PAS, respectively. RESULTS: Assistive technology for indoor/outdoor mobility, bed transfer, and bathing was found to be substitutes for total PAS, whereas assistive technology for bed transfer and toileting was found to be complements for the use of formal PAS. Telephone assistance was not significant for either total or formal PAS hours. IMPLICATIONS: The use of some assistive technologies by older people with disabilities appears to reduce the amount of informal care provided, but not the amount of paid PAS. Thus, this study does not provide support for the hypothesis that the use of assistive technologies will reduce use of paid care and, therefore, spending for long-term care


Anderson, W., & Wiener, J. (2015). The Impact of Assistive Technologies on Formal and Informal Home Care. Gerontologist, 55(3), 422-433. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnt165

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