Objective: The purpose of this project was to develop a toolkit with comfort products, low-tech assistive devices and information, based on the needs and demands of an elderly population living independently, aiming at maintaining independence and autonomy.
Main content: An increasing part of the Dutch population is aging. Elderly people wish to continue living in their own environment as long as possible, living independently and experiencing a high quality of living. Will the use of simple, low-tech products, comfort products and assistive devices contribute to this endeavour? First, a study was conducted to find out which difficulties the elderly encounter. Secondly, a team of experts identified comfort products and assistive devices that could offer solutions to the difficulties mentioned, a manual was added for each product, and decision trees (guidelines) were developed for the five foremost difficulties identified in the research mentioned above. For the evaluation, one hundred participants received the toolkit and were interviewed. All the participants were over 65 years old and living independently.
Results: The participants were very positive about the idea of receiving the toolkit when getting older. Almost all the participants used most of the products from the toolkit and continued using them after a few months. The products in the toolkit and the information were generally judged positively. The participants stated that the toolkit enabled them to live their life more independently, with less effort or pain. The impression arises that using the toolkit increases the participants' awareness of possible difficulties in aging, as well as their knowledge of products offering a solution for these difficulties, and their problem solving skills.
Conclusion: From the perspective of elderly users, a toolkit with comfort products, low technology devices and information helps them to live their life more independently and autonomously and to continue doing so in the future.