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Transitions in Aging

Retirement Planning II

Assistive Technology

variety of assistive devices for hearing, telecommunications, writing, and movement/walking

NEXT: Benefits of Assistive Technology

Notes and References

The first topic we will cover in this module is assistive technology.

Helpful support can come from people as well as adapted materials and equipment. Assistive technology, or AT, is a tool, device, or service that helps us do the things we would not otherwise be able to do without it.1 AT can help us do things like dress, eat, walk, talk, hear, read, or control things in our environment, such as a radio or a thermostat.2 Sometimes when we hear the word technology we think of a metal device that requires a battery and costs a lot of money. However, assistive technology devices range from very inexpensive and simple to very expensive and complex. An AT device could be a piece of rubber around a pen that helps us hold the pen more easily or it could be a power wheelchair that helps us get around. As we age into our retirement years, we may struggle with hearing and seeing the way we used to, we may not be able to reach our arms to grab dishes out of the cabinets, and we may have trouble zipping our jackets and tying our shoes. Assistive technology can help us with all of these things and overall can provide us with many benefits.


  1. Hersh, M. A., & Johnson, M. A. (2008). On modeling assistive technology systems Part I: Modelling framework. Technology and Disability, 20, 193-215.
  2. Hess, J., & Gutierrez, A. M. (2010). Family information guide to assistive technology and transition planning: Planned transitions are smooth transitions. Retrieved from