The TechSAge Minimum Battery: A multidimensional and holistic assessment of individuals aging with long-term disabilities

Elena T. Remillard, Patricia C. Griffiths, Tracy L. Mitzner, Jon A. Sanford, Brian D. Jones, Wendy A. Rogers

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Abstract

Background: People with disabilities acquired in early to mid-life are living longer, contributing to growing numbers of older adults who are aging with disability, an understudied population likely to be underserved. Objectives: This paper demonstrates the usefulness of the TechSAge Minimum Battery as a holistic assessment of health for people aging with disabilities. Methods: Survey data of socio-demographic and health characteristics were collected from 176 older adults with long-term vision, hearing, and/or mobility disabilities. A series of descriptive and bivariate analyses were conducted to illustrate the heterogeneity of the sample. An in-depth analysis of the subsample with vision difficulty was conducted to highlight the tool's value in assessing detailed contextual information for a specific disability. Results: Prevalence of health conditions (M = 4.1; SD = 2.5), prescription medications (M = 4.1; SD = 3.9), and serious functional difficulties (M = 1.6; SD = 0.85) indicated a fair degree of comorbidity, but with considerable variation in number and type among individuals. Subjective health ratings were high overall, but lower scores were correlated with additional comorbidities (r = −0.31-0.40, p =<.001). Analyses of the subsample with vision difficulty demonstrated heterogeneity in functional capacity, degree of impairment, duration, and use of supportive aids. Conclusions: Findings highlighted the heterogeneity among people aging with disability and demonstrated the importance of capturing multi-dimensional factors inclusive of an individual's capacity, context, and personal factors, which the Minimum Battery provides in an integrated assessment. Potential healthcare applications of the tool are discussed with implications for bridging aging and disability services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100884
JournalDisability and Health Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

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Keywords

  • Aging
  • Aging with disability
  • Assessments
  • Comorbidity
  • Disability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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