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An evaluation of reachers for use by older persons with disabilities.

Assistive Technology

Author: Chen, L. K., Mann, W., Tomita, M., Burford, T.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 1998


With the steady growth in numbers of older persons, the number of elders who have impairments impacting on functional performance also increases. Many asssitive devices are available that have potential to help elders with impairments to retain or mainatain independence. Reachers provide a good example of an inexpensive and useful assistive device for elders. A needs assessment study of the University of Buffalo (RERC-Aging) found that 22% of elder owners of reachers were dissatisfied with at least one of the reachers they owned. This study explored the reasons for this dissatsifaction by, first, determining the tasks for which older persons use reachers and, second, testing performance in these tasks with three reachers selected on their potential to best meet the needs of older persons with disabilities. In the first study comonent, 16 older persons from the RERC-Aging study were selected at random for a telephone interview. In the second study component, 30 elders were selected randomly for an evaluation of reachers. All respondents were 60 years or older, lived at home, and used one or more reachers in their daily tasks. Consumer criteria for evaluating reachers included adjustable length, one-hand use, life-time guarantee, lock system for grip, forearm support, light weight and level trigger action. The Winchester reacher was rated highest by consumers who actually tested three reachers that best met the consumer criteria.

Further Details

Publish Dates: 1998
Full Title: Assistive Technology
Pages: 113-125
Volume: 10
Issue: 2
Accession Number: 20.11.02
Research Notes: Electronic copy added 14/08/2013
Keywords: North Americaolderassessmentassistive devicedesign
Reads: 205