Daily Living

Daily Living

Key Takeaways

What is Assistive Technology (AT) for Daily Living?

  • AT for daily living includes adaptive equipment.
  • It helps individuals complete everyday activities.
  • Devices can be low-, mid-, or high-tech.
  • This category encompasses devices assisting with self-care tasks including: bathing/showering, personal hygiene/grooming, dressing, toileting, functional mobility, and self-feeding.

Common No-Tech and Low-Tech Daily Living AT Solutions:

  • Ensure seating/positioning is appropriate
    • Hips as far back in the chair as possible
    • Seat height allows for flat feet
    • Chair back is reclined (100 - 110 degree angle)
    • Shoulders relaxed
  • Be well-rested/conserve energy (extra time/break between tasks)
  • Timers and written lists for task reminders/steps
  • Schedule incorporates breaks (toileting, pressure relief, nutrition, etc.)
  • Item placement within vision/reach/access; consider adding color contrast between item(s) and background
  • Build-up handles (Ex. doorknobs/cabinet pulls for easier grasp)
  • Remove rugs/loose carpets (decreases fall risks and/or difficulty maneuvering)

Who, When, and Where is AT for Daily Living Appropriate?

  • When an individual is having difficulty independently completing self-care tasks due to physical and/or cognitive deficits
  • Can be used in all settings/environments
  • It is right for anyone who is not able to independently complete daily living tasks for themselves

Why is Daily Living AT Important?

  • Reduces support from others (parents/caregivers, educators/paraeducators, etc.)
  • Increases independence and self-efficacy during fundamental and instrumental daily living activities
  • Enables individuals to improve self-confidence, self-image and self-care abilities

Situations for Daily Living AT:

School Environment

  • Self-feeding in the cafeteria
  • Toileting independently
  • Manipulating clothing during/after toileting
  • Dressing and undressing for gym class
  • Partaking in snack time within the classroom
  • Functional mobility to navigate the building(s)

Work Environment

  • Self-feeding during a break
  • Functional mobility to navigate the environment
  • Toileting independently
  • Manipulating clothing during/after toileting
  • Performing oral hygiene after eating

Family / Home Environment

  • Self-feeding in the dining room
  • Meal prep in the kitchen
  • Toileting independently
  • Manipulating clothing during/after toileting
  • Shaving, washing hair, and grooming
  • Dressing and undressing for the day
  • Functional mobility to move to each room of the house
  • Showering in the bathroom
  • Brushing teeth

Community

  • Functional mobility at entertainment venues
  • Self–feeding in public
  • Toileting independently
  • Manipulating clothing during/after toileting
  • Functional mobility during shopping trips

Commonly Asked Questions about Daily Living AT:

  • Q - What are fundamental daily living activities?
    • A - Everyday routines involving functional mobility and personal care, such as bathing/showering, personal hygiene/grooming, dressing, toileting, functional mobility, and self-feeding. An inability to execute these activities requires one to depend on others, resulting in a self-care deficit.
  • Q - What are instrumental daily living activities?
    • A - Necessary activities beyond self-care required to live independently such as cleaning/maintaining the house/laundry, preparing meals/cooking, managing medications, pet care, banking/money management, yard maintenance, using the telephone/communicating, and shopping/moving within the community.
  • Q - How do individuals know which piece of AT is right for specific daily living needs?
    • A - Focus on tasks needing to be accomplished. Begin with simple no- to low-tech solutions as they are the easiest to use. The device needs to be comfortable for personal use.
  • Q - Who can help an individual choose AT for daily living needs?
    • A - Ask a health provider such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist for guidance on choosing a device that matches the individual's specific needs and assists them with completing the task(s). Also, each state has an AT Act Program with staff/resources to guide individuals through matching with needed AT.

Blue Able Tech logoAT Solutions at ABLE Tech:

Visit ABLE Tech’s Daily Living Inventory

Visit ABLE Tech's Daily Living AT/DME Reuse/Exchange Inventory

Helpful Links and PDF Resources:

Guides and Articles:

Video/Webinar/Podcast Resources:

Check out these videos highlighting daily living devices available to borrow from ABLE Tech!

Education

Case Studies of Individuals with Daily Living Needs and Recommendations 

Case Study #1

A 3-year-old preschool student, toileting accidents, possible distraction while playing with other children, attends a 3-day a week Mother's Day Out Program

The student often has difficulty with urinary accidents during preschool. His mother reports minimal accidents at the home. The teacher reports distraction due to playing with other children could be the cause of the accidents.

Possible Recommendations:

A low-tech AT solution for decreasing urinating accidents is a daily toileting schedule, rewarding sticker chart, or a bathroom buddy. Mid- to high-tech AT solutions to increase independence with toileting are the Time Tracker, a timer app on a smart device like a Time Timer App, and a toileting time alert system such as the Potty Watch.

Goals and Outcomes:

The student will decrease the number of toileting accidents during the Mother's Day Out Program.

See the SETT Framework for feature-matching forms based on the Student, Environment, Tasks, and Tools model.

Case Study Forms – SETT Framework
Sample Solutions:

Case Study #2

An 8-year-old girl with difficulty tying her shoes; does not try to tie her shoes any longer due to frustration and embarrassment; relies on her peers, teachers, and other school personnel to tie her shoes multiple times a day

Possible Recommendations:

A low-tech AT solution is for her caregiver to tightly, double knot her shoelaces each morning or wear shoes with no laces like FlyEase and ZeroTie shoes. Mid-tech solutions that increase independence with shoe tying are HICKIES elastic shoelaces, Lock Laces, and Zubits.

Goals and Outcomes:

The student will tie her shoes independently. The student will tie shoes with adaptive laces.

See the SETT Framework for feature-matching forms based on the Student, Environment, Tasks, and Tools model.

Case Study Forms – SETT Framework
Sample Solutions:

        HICKIES Inventory Link           

  

Lock Laces Inventory Link             

Case Study #3

A 16-year-old male with cerebral palsy, requires forearm crutches for functional mobility, wears ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs), and has unsteady balance and stability

The student dresses independently at home while sitting in a chair but requires extra time. He struggles in dressing after athletics at school due to fatigue. He is unable to efficiently make it to his next class on time. The school Occupational Therapist (OT) is recommending AT for increased performance and time efficiency with dressing at school.

Possible Recommendations:

Many devices can aid this student in the gym or locker room. No- to low-tech solutions to increase independence are oversized clothing without fasteners such as buttons/zippers, slide on shoes and a stable chair with a back to use while dressing. Mid-tech solutions to increase independence include a: Foot Funnel, Sock N Stocking aid, dressing stick, Pocket Dresser, and shoehorn.

Goals and Outcomes:

The student will dress himself using adaptive equipment after athletics to be on time for his next academic class.

SETT Framework for feature-matching forms based on the Student, Environment, Tasks, and Tools model.

Case Study Forms – SETT Framework
Sample Solutions:

Employment

Case Studies of Individuals with Daily Living Needs and Recommendations 

Case Study #1

45-year-old medical transcriber, recovering from left-hand finger amputation from a car accident

The accident resulted in the amputation of his left-hand fingers. The employee and his employers have arranged several pieces of AT to help him complete his transcribing assignments, but he is having just one problem at work. He is unable to manipulate his clothing fasteners after using the restroom. The employee is embarrassed to ask for help and has remained silent about the issue. He has been wearing pants with no fasteners. He would like to begin wearing his dress pants to work again.

Possible Recommendations:

The employee is currently using no-tech solutions for his situation by wearing clothing that has no fasteners such as buttons/zippers. As a mid-tech solution he could keep a dressing tool like a Button Hooks with Zipper Pull or a Pocket Dresser in his pocket to use when fastening buttons/zippers. A high-tech solution could be custom made dress pants with magnetic fasteners.

Goals and Outcomes:

The employee will wear slacks with fasteners such as buttons/zippers to work and will independently fasten them.

See the attached Human Activity Assistive Technology (HAAT) Model form to see how to match the employee to needed AT.

Case Study Forms – HAAT Model
Sample Solutions:

Case Study #2

Adult male with spinal cord injury, uses a wheelchair

He has multiple job interviews scheduled. During the interviews, the job seeker would prefer to transfer to an office chair. Chairs are easily accessible in his home; he currently does not require any AT for transfers within the home.

Possible Recommendations:

Low-tech solutions are to remove an armrest and footrest from the wheelchair for him to transfer to a desk chair without arms. Mid-tech solutions for chair transfers are a Soft Transfer Swivel Cushion and a Beasy Transfer Board. High-tech solutions for wheelchair transfers are mechanical lifts like the Uplift Power Seat.

Goals and Outcomes:

The job seeker will transfer to office chairs during job interviews.

See the attached HAAT Model form to see how to match the job seeker to needed AT.

Case Study Forms – HAAT Model
Sample Solutions: 

Case Study #3

Chef sustained a stroke, left side weakness/fatigue, limited strength and dexterity in left hand, wants to return to his position at a restaurant

He has limited strength and dexterity in his left-hand making grasping tools difficult. The chef is mostly concerned about the grasp of a spatula to use the restaurant grill. He walks long distances with support from a cane. In the kitchen, he uses countertops for support when he only needs to take a step or two.

Possible Recommendations:

Initially, the kitchen should be set-up so he can work in a defined area without the need to move to different stations. He may need a lower counter/workstation to be able to sit at times and still prepare food. There are several AT options for flipping/turning food in a skillet/pan that may make his tasks easier including the Double Spatula, Peta L-Shaped Spatula, and the Spatula EZ Flip.

Goals and Outcomes:

With the use of AT in the kitchen, the employee will return to his job as a chef.

See the attached HAAT Model form to see how to match the employee to needed AT.

Case Study Forms – HAAT Model
Sample Solutions:

 

Community Living

Case Studies of Individuals with Daily Living Needs and Recommendations 

Case Study #1

A 3-year-old boy, difficulty falling asleep at night, head banging against wall or bed, constant arm movement

He constantly moves his limbs and bangs his head against the wall or bed to self-soothe. His caregivers are concerned about his safety due to excessive movement and head banging.

Possible Recommendations:

No- to low-tech AT solutions could be sensory regulation activities within the home for 30 minutes before bedtime. This combined with a low-stimulus environment may be beneficial. Mid-tech AT solutions include soothing bedtime items such as a white noise machine, a weighted blanket, a soothing/vibrating stuffed toy like a Summer Infant Slumber Buddy and a Swaddle Me Good Vibes Crib Wedge. A high-tech AT item is a vibrating/adjustable mattress.

Safety Note: If choosing the weighted blanket, consult with an OT or other professional to determine the needed weight of the blanket based on the weight of the child.

Goals and Outcomes:

The boy will self-soothe for bed without harming himself.

See the attached HAAT Model form to see how to match the child to needed AT.

Case Study Forms – HAAT Model
Sample Solutions:

Case Study #2

Elderly man in an assisted living community, initial stages of dementia, inconsistent taking medication

His family has concerns he is not consistently taking his medication. The gentleman refuses to use the assisted living staff to dispense his medication.

Possible Recommendations:

Low-tech AT solutions are visual medication schedules or handwritten checklists. Mid-tech AT solutions are weekly or monthly pill dispensers with the family setting up the pills each week/month, an alarm clock for reminders, or a Medication Dispenser/Medication Dispenser - Automative. A high-tech AT solution is a virtual reality caretaker via the web.

Goals and Outcomes:

The resident will correctly and independently take his medication with the use of AT.

See the attached HAAT Model form to see how to match the gentleman to the needed AT.

Case Study Forms – HAAT Model
Sample Solutions:

Case Study #3

A 75-year-old female with no known cognitive deficits, hard of hearing, recently broke her left arm, is non-weight bearingon the broken arm

During in-patient therapy, the female has a tough time avoiding using her left arm. She will be returning home with her husband. She is worried about independently undressing/dressing during toileting activities while her husband is away from home.

Possible Recommendations:

She could borrow a few daily living dressing items in the loan library of the state's AT program. Some options include: WingPants Trouser Dressing Board or EZ Reacher – Locked

Goals and Outcomes:

She will pull down/up pants independently while toileting.

See the attached HAAT Model form to see how to match the individual to needed AT.

Case Study Forms – HAAT Model
Sample Solutions: