Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community for August 2017

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: What resources, research, and information are available to help people with disabilities age with success? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that provide research on technologies that support successful aging with a disability; promote healthy aging for people with long-term disabilities; provide information on sidestepping chronic health problems as we age; discuss opportunities to improve nutrition; discuss changes in everyday technologies and older people with and without cognitive disabilities; discuss the acceptance of televideo technology of older adults with mobility disabilities; provide education on active aging; provide active aging strategies; and describe a program that promotes healthy aging for people with disabilities. More about Answered Questions.

NIDILRR-Funded Projects:

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability (RERC TechSAge) (English) (90RE5016) conducts programs to increase knowledge about, availability of, and access to effective, universally-designed technologies that help people to sustain independence, maintain health, safely engage in basic activities of daily living at home and in the community, and participate in society as they age with a disability. This RERC conducts nine research and development projects that include projects on user needs, effects of age-related hearing loss, tele-wellness technologies, development of apps, smart bathrooms, and a mobile manipulator robot. The RERC TechSAge also provides resources that include community resources, professional organizations/conferences and affiliated centers and laboratories.

University of Washington Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Promoting Healthy Aging for Individuals with Long-Term Physical Disabilities (English) (90RT5023) is working to better understand the factors associated with healthy aging in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI), multiple sclerosis (MS), late effects of polio (PPS), and muscular dystrophy. The focus of this RRTC is to promote healthy aging for people with long-term physical disabilities by studying what helps or hinders persons with physical disabilities to access adequate health care and rehabilitation services; better understanding the impact of secondary conditions on the lives of people living and growing older with a long term physical disability; adapting and testing health promotion programs to see if these programs are able to help people living with a long-term physical disability age well; developing and testing new programs that help people tap into their resilience and coping abilities; training new researchers and health care providers in the field of aging and disability; and sharing the findings with health care providers, advocates, policy-makers, persons living with a long-term physical disability, and those who care about them.

From the NARIC Collection:

Maintaining Health:

How to sidestep chronic health problems as you age (English) (O20283) describes research that explored how common five health problems are among adults with long-term physical conditions and at what age they tend to get these health problems. Around 1,500 participants with various physical disabilities were surveyed twice to see how many of them developed a health problem in the three years between surveys. On both surveys, participants were asked if they had ever been diagnosed with arthritis, high blood pressure, cancer, or diabetes. Most said that they had at least one of the five health issues. Overall, participants with long-term physical disabilities reported slightly greater rates of chronic health problems than adults without physical disabilities.

Opportunities to improve nutrition for older adults and reduce risk of poor health outcomes (English) (O20685) is an issue brief that defines malnutrition, describes the effects of the aging process on a person’s nutrition, and summarizes the evidence and professional consensus around the interventions that could be effective in helping older adults with malnutrition. As people age, their appetite and ability to process food may decrease, while their health conditions and use of medications that may affect nutrition may increase. An older person’s nutrition may also be affected by psychosocial factors, such as isolation and depression. This issue brief offers examples for states and others to consider in how they might help the health and wellbeing of older adults living in the community and those that have been hospitalized through malnutrition interventions that include provision of meals, meal enhancements, and nutrition supplements.


Changes in the technological landscape over time: Relevance and difficulty levels of everyday technologies as perceived by older adults with and without cognitive impairment (English) (J73619) describes a study that investigated the stability and change in the perceived relevance and perceived difficulty level of 47 everyday technologies (ET) across two different occasions and between two similar groups of older adults with and without cognitive disabilities. ETs change continuously and not being able to keep up with these changes may hinder participation in activities. Using the Everyday Technology Use Questionnaire, researchers collected data of perceived relevance and difficulty in ET use from two samples of adults. Researchers found that the perceived relevance of ET among older adults with and without cognitive disabilities increased over time, but the levels of perceived difficulty of ETs did not change as much. This data could be used to support and facilitate the use of ET in the aging population and influence how society views older people as active users of ET in the home and in public spaces.

Acceptance of televideo technology by adults aging with a mobility impairment for health and wellness interventions (J75785) (English) describes a study that explored the acceptance of televideo conference by adults aging with mobility disabilities in the context of supporting social engagement, healthcare provider access, and physical activity. Questionnaires and individual interviews were used to collect data from 14 adults aging with self-reported mobility disabilities. Participants were open to accepting televideo technology. They perceived these technologies as useful and they perceived additional benefits, including the feeling of “being there” by enabling the viewing of facial expressions and the environment of the other person. Participants also expressed concerns about the perceptions of the lack of security and privacy, that these technologies are difficult to use, and that these technologies are difficult to learn to use. The findings have implications for education, training, and deployment of televideo technology for home-based interventions for adults aging with pre-existing mobility disabilities.


Health and participation problems in older adults with long-term disability (English) (J75891) describes a study that explored the health/participation problems and unmet needs of adults over the age of 40 with long-term disabilities and their relationship with the time of onset. Participants in the Netherlands filled out a questionnaire that evaluated their background characteristics, change in health/participation problems, and unmet needs. The study found that adults with long-term disability have significant and increasing health and participation problems and that adults with early-onset disability are more likely to have health or participation problems than adults with late-onset disability. The authors suggest early identification for preventive care and access to specialized services that focus on improving and maintaining physical symptoms, energy management, and participation.


Employment support for the transition to retirement (English) (J76047) is an article from researchers at the NIDILRR-funded RRTC on Employment Policy and Measurement (English) (90RT5013) that describes a work support program that is targeted at older workers who begin to experience a health-related work limitation as they near retirement. Although public programs provide health insurance and income support for these employees that support is often inadequate in protecting them against poverty after the onset of a new health condition and is not designed to encourage continuing work instead of early retirement. The article goes on to describe the Employment Support for the Transition to Retirement Program, which is designed to encourage older workers with health limitations to remain in the work force and reducing their dependence on federal disability and early retirement benefits.

Active Aging:

Active aging strategy: A review of the literature (I241697) describes a study with the objective of establishing the political framework of “active aging” and to study strategies and programs on active aging implemented in Spain and internationally. Researchers reviewed the biomedical literature using a generic profile and reviewed institutional documentation in Spain, across Europe, and internationally in relation to active aging. The results revealed that the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have various global strategies; in Europe, different lines of work have been developed; and, in Spain, there is a website that provides information on 70 active aging programs that are under development. The authors conclude that a greater development is needed of institutional coordination policies and intersectional social and healthcare policies against dependency and disease, initiatives that promote the right of the elderly to independent and healthy aging.

From Other Collections:

Anfas program promotes the healthy aging of people with disabilities (Navarra News – Pamplona, Spain) describes a new program from Anfas, an association for people with intellectual disabilities in Navarra, to help empower the healthy aging of people with intellectual disabilities. The program provides adapted activities and supports adjusted to the needs of older people with intellectual disabilities so that they age with dignity, actively, in a healthy manner, and as they improve their quality of life. Program activities include inclusive workshops that use cognitive stimulation, physical activities, art, and cultural activities. In addition to the workshops, discussion sessions on topics of interest are offered daily. Currently, there are 24 people with intellectual disabilities participating in the program; however, it can be expanded to a total of 30 people.

Intervention Guide: Education on active aging for people with disabilities (Grupo Develop Fundation – Spain) was developed by several organizations in Spain so as to provide support materials to a variety of professionals, people with disabilities, and families. The guide is divided into different workshops that provide information on aging and disabilities; provide information on quality of life for people aging with a disability; discuss the function of professionals in the aging process; provides strategies for professionals to help clients age with success; and that discuss planning for the future, including life after retirement and making decisions about the future. Each section includes infographics, communication related graphics, and defines related terms. The guide includes several indices that include activities, informative games, and infographics.

World Report on Aging and Health is a document from the World Health Organization (WHO) that discusses aging and health around the world. This document is divided into seven chapters that discuss international legal and regulatory frameworks; healthy aging, including aging, health, and function; health in older people, including habits that influence healthy aging; health systems, including the economic impact of the aging population on health systems; long-term care, including the current approaches to long-term care and responding to the challenge of long-term care; working towards a more amiable world for the elderly, including the capacity of the elderly to satisfy their basic needs and to contribute to the community; and a chapter on next steps, that includes information on creating health care systems. This document also includes a glossary of terms.


Further Research:

About Answered Questions

Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned below is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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