the increasing use of the Internet by older persons to pay bills, shop, and communicate with friends and family.

Initial Challenges to Consider

  1. Develop projections for future age-specific disability rates by gender, race, and socioeconomic status. These projections should take into account:

  • Various definitions of disability (e.g., ADL, IADL, cognitive function, other definitions and subtypes of disability);

  • Recent trends in disability rates for various age groups;

  • Expected future changes in lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise, smoking), health care (new approaches to diagnosis and treatment), and health status (e.g., obesity, diabetes) that may influence disability;

  • Changes in medical and related technologies that may compensate for functional impairments; and

  • Advances in nonmedical technologies, in the workplace and beyond, that may enhance or limit function in older persons.

  1. Develop new concepts for interventions (e.g., social, medical, technological) that mitigate these trends.

Initial References

Ahacic, K., L. Kåreholt, M. Thorslund, and M. G. Parker. 2007. Relationships between symptoms, physical capacity and activity limitations in 1992 and 2002. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research 19(3):187-193.

Bean, J. F., A. Bailey, D. K. Kiely, and S. G. Leveille. 2007. Do attitudes toward exercise vary with differences in mobility and disability status? A study among low-income seniors. Disability and Rehabilitation 29(15):1215-1220.

Cooper, R. A., M. L. Boninger, D. M. Spaeth, D. Ding, S. F. Suo, A. M. Koontz, S. G. Fitzgerald, R. Cooper, A. Kelleher, and D. M. Collins. 2006. Engineering better wheelchairs to enhance community participation. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 14(4):438-455.

Cooper, R. A., H. Ohnabe, and D. Hobso (eds.). 2006. An Introduction to Rehabilitation Engineering, 1st ed. London: Taylor & Francis.

Cutler, S. J. 2005. Technological change and aging. In Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences, 6th ed., eds. R. H. Binstock and L. K. George, pp. 257-276. San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press.



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