Background: The number of older persons, including those with disabilities, has increased substantially in most countries and it will accelerate in the next decades. Among this population, experts have established a conceptual and factual distinction between two different phenomena: disability with aging (elderly incurring into some kind of impairments) and aging with disability (elderly who incurred into impairments during the developmental age). In both cases, assistive technologies (AT) can play an important role in supporting and stimulating elderly with disabilities in order to improve their quality of life and to support them in cognitive and social skills maintenance. In particular, the present paper aims at mapping the state of the art in ATs developed in the last 5 years for older persons with intellectual disabilities (ID). Method: Adopting PRISMA checklist, a systematic review was conducted in IEEE Digital Library, ACM Digital Library and Scopus databases using the following keywords: a. assistive technology OR assistive devices OR domotics; b. accessib*; c. disabil* older people OR disab* elderly; d. intellectual disability OR mental retardation; period: 2014 to 2019. Inclusion criteria were scientific papers, proceedings and book chapters addressing the topic of interest. Studies that did not include older adults/elderly with ID and researches that did not focus on the use of ATs and related devices (indoor/outdoor, embodied, etc.) for these target-users were excluded. Key results: After an initial selection of 520 articles, 61 were subjected to in-depth analysis leading to the final selection of 45 papers. The selected contributions reflect a heterogeneous variety of ATs (prototypes, on-purpose/low cost/commercial devices, etc.) that can support the older persons with cognitive impairments: advanced sensors/networks (n.10); cognitive assistants (n.3); robots (n.3); wireless communication systems (n.14); wearable technologies (n.6). Moreover, some papers (n.5) collect or combine different kind of devices while a few (n.4) face the economic, ethical and legal issues connected to the use of ATs with older/disabled persons. In the majority of the studies, these ATs were developed for older persons who acquired some kind of cognitive impairments (e.g. dementia) in older age (n.18) or, according to their designers, could be used both for age-related cognitive disorders and for older persons with life-long ID (n.20). Only a few studies (n.7) focused on the use of ATs for persons aging with ID. Conclusion: The paper reports on the increasing number of ATs designed to assist elderly with cognitive disabilities to meet their needs. Simultaneously, it highlights that only few researches focus on AT devices for persons aging with ID. This confirms the lack of theoretical/concrete integration between aging and disability studies. These aspects, together with premature aging (generally associated with ID), result in limited understanding of how the experience of living with a long-term disability influences the experience of aging. Consequently, more attention to, and the development of ATs specifically designed for the aging population with ID is needed. New challenges for future researches will be addressed and further possible exploitation/application for supporting “successful aging with disabilities” will be drawn.

(2019). Assistive technologies for elderly with intellectual disabilities. A preliminary systematic review for future research implementation . In TECHNOLOGY AND DISABILITY. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/152885

Assistive technologies for elderly with intellectual disabilities. A preliminary systematic review for future research implementation

Giraldo, Mabel;Besio, Serenella;
2019-01-01

Abstract

Background: The number of older persons, including those with disabilities, has increased substantially in most countries and it will accelerate in the next decades. Among this population, experts have established a conceptual and factual distinction between two different phenomena: disability with aging (elderly incurring into some kind of impairments) and aging with disability (elderly who incurred into impairments during the developmental age). In both cases, assistive technologies (AT) can play an important role in supporting and stimulating elderly with disabilities in order to improve their quality of life and to support them in cognitive and social skills maintenance. In particular, the present paper aims at mapping the state of the art in ATs developed in the last 5 years for older persons with intellectual disabilities (ID). Method: Adopting PRISMA checklist, a systematic review was conducted in IEEE Digital Library, ACM Digital Library and Scopus databases using the following keywords: a. assistive technology OR assistive devices OR domotics; b. accessib*; c. disabil* older people OR disab* elderly; d. intellectual disability OR mental retardation; period: 2014 to 2019. Inclusion criteria were scientific papers, proceedings and book chapters addressing the topic of interest. Studies that did not include older adults/elderly with ID and researches that did not focus on the use of ATs and related devices (indoor/outdoor, embodied, etc.) for these target-users were excluded. Key results: After an initial selection of 520 articles, 61 were subjected to in-depth analysis leading to the final selection of 45 papers. The selected contributions reflect a heterogeneous variety of ATs (prototypes, on-purpose/low cost/commercial devices, etc.) that can support the older persons with cognitive impairments: advanced sensors/networks (n.10); cognitive assistants (n.3); robots (n.3); wireless communication systems (n.14); wearable technologies (n.6). Moreover, some papers (n.5) collect or combine different kind of devices while a few (n.4) face the economic, ethical and legal issues connected to the use of ATs with older/disabled persons. In the majority of the studies, these ATs were developed for older persons who acquired some kind of cognitive impairments (e.g. dementia) in older age (n.18) or, according to their designers, could be used both for age-related cognitive disorders and for older persons with life-long ID (n.20). Only a few studies (n.7) focused on the use of ATs for persons aging with ID. Conclusion: The paper reports on the increasing number of ATs designed to assist elderly with cognitive disabilities to meet their needs. Simultaneously, it highlights that only few researches focus on AT devices for persons aging with ID. This confirms the lack of theoretical/concrete integration between aging and disability studies. These aspects, together with premature aging (generally associated with ID), result in limited understanding of how the experience of living with a long-term disability influences the experience of aging. Consequently, more attention to, and the development of ATs specifically designed for the aging population with ID is needed. New challenges for future researches will be addressed and further possible exploitation/application for supporting “successful aging with disabilities” will be drawn.
Giraldo, Mabel; Besio, Serenella; Marti, Patrizia
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