Getting used to assistive devices: Ambivalent experiences by frail elderly persons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim was to learn how frail elderly people experienced becoming assistive device users and how assistive devices affected their independence in daily activities. Focus-group methodology was used, including people 80 and older with multiple health problems. Five group discussions were conducted with a total of 18 people including 14 women and four men. Each group met once, for 90-120 minutes, and all discussions were audiotaped. Two themes emerged: Confidence in knowledge and experience and getting used to assistive devices in daily activities. Confidence in knowledge and experience was formed by two categories of experiences from the prescription procedure: trust the expert and trust yourself, and to have confidence in having the right information about assistive devices. Getting used to assistive devices in daily activities was formed by five categories of ambivalent experiences when using assistive devices in daily activities: creates opportunities and limitations; provides security but also raises concerns; the need is seen as transient or permanent; the social environment both encourages and restricts; the physical environment both facilitates and complicates, with less extreme experiences in between. This study indicates that frail elderly people need specifically developed support in the process of becoming assistive device users.


  • Carina Skymne
  • Synneve Dahlin-Ivanoff
  • Lisbeth Claesson
  • Kajsa Eklund
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Occupational Therapy


  • activities of daily life, assistive technology, occupational therapy, occupational science
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-203
JournalScandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: The Vårdal Institute (016540000)