Critical Assistive Technology Needs of Californians Are Not Being Adequately Met

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Problem is becoming critical as the state’s population ages and as more older adults begin living with aging-related disabilities, according to just released report by California Assistive Technology Coalition.

The Current and Future Assistive Technology Needs of Californians report, the second in a series of four reports being issued by the California Assistive Technology Coalition, concludes that, "While the number of Californians living with disabilities continues to grow, access to and use of assistive technologies that can help them live as independently as possible is limited. And this is becoming a critical problem as the state’s population ages and more begin living with aging-related disabilities, and as efforts intensify to enable older adults and people with disabilities currently residing in nursing homes to return to their communities."

The California Assistive Technology Coalition was launched in June 2008 by the Independent Living Partnership with California State University, Fullerton and the California Dept of Aging to advance the development, testing and use of assistive technology to help those who are aging and the disabled live independently in their homes and to age in place.

The report, just released, addresses the kinds of assistive technology California’s aging and disabled residents will need in order to maintain their independence and live in their own homes and communities to the extent possible. Based on research conducted by the Coalition, the report cites challenges that must be addressed if the future AT needs of California’s aging and disability communities are to be met. Among the critical needs identified in the report:
●    Better and more comprehensive information on barriers and problems individuals with disabilities encounter as they make the transition from early childhood, to school, to work, to older adulthood and to retirement.    
●    Coordinated efforts to raise public awareness about the wide range of AT devices that are available and how they can enhance independence and well-being.
●    Proactive involvement of persons who use AT devices in their design and commercialization.
●    Increased availability of home modifications that promote independent living, including improved financial coverage of home modifications by both public and private insurers.
●    Improved access to health care services and facilities by people with disabilities.

This is the second of four reports commissioned by the Coalition. The first report, entitled Demographic and Socioeconomic Factors Impacting the Future Assistive Technology Needs of California’s Aging Population, was released in October 2010. The third report in the series, focusing on gaps, barriers and unmet AT needs of California’s aging and disabled populations, is scheduled for release in late fall of 2011. A fourth and final report will be released in the spring of 2012. That report will contain specific recommendations for policymakers, regulators and other public and private sector leaders on policy and funding steps that can be taken to help the state meet the assistive technology needs of its aging and disabled populations.

Both the first and second reports are available on the Coalition’s website at Proceedings of past meetings of the Coalition are also available on the website.

The Independent Living Partnership is a 501(c)3 organization working for the rights of all to live independently in their homes and communities. ILP is a co-convener of the California Assistive Technology Coalition and operates the nationally acclaimed TRIP volunteer driver program. More information is available at


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