Medical and assistive health technology: Meeting the needs of aging populations

Loïc Garçon, Chapal Khasnabis, Lloyd Walker, Yukiko Nakatani, Jostacio Lapitan, Johan Borg, Alex Ross, Adriana Velazquez Berumen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of the Study: To identify policy gaps in the delivery and availability of assistive health technology (AHT) and medical devices (MD) for aging populations, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Design and Methods: The findings presented in this paper are the results of several narrative overviews. They provide a contextual analysis of the conclusions and evidence from WHO commissioned research and expert consultations in 2013 and 2014, as well as a synthesis of literature reviews conducted on AHT and MD. Results: Practical, life-enhancing support for older people through AHT, MD, and related health and social services is a neglected issue. This is particularly so in LMICs where the biggest increases in aging populations are occurring, and yet where there is commonly little or no access to these vital components of healthy aging. Implications: Health technologies, especially medical and assistive health technology, are essential to ensure older people's dignity and autonomy, but their current and potential benefits have received little recognition in LMICs. Viewing these technologies as relevant only to disabled people is an inadequate approach. They should be accessible to both older adults with disabilities and older adults with functional limitation. Many countries need much greater official awareness of older adults' needs and preferences. Such attitudinal changes should then be reflected in laws and regulations to address the specificities of care for older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S293-S302
JournalThe Gerontologist
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences

Free keywords

  • Disabilities
  • Function/mobility
  • Health policy
  • Technology


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