Home > RNJ > 2008 > March/April > Book Review: Smart Technology for Aging, Disability, and Independence: The State of the Science

Book Review: Smart Technology for Aging, Disability, and Independence: The State of the Science
William C. Mann, John Wiley & Sons, 2005, $84.95, 379 pages

Audience: occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, rehabilitation science students and professionals

 Key Words: aging, assistive technology, disability

 From the world of research and development in the rehabilitation sciences comes an indexed, referenced, and easy-to-understand text for readers interested in the field of rehabilitation. The editor is a researcher, professor, and director of occupational therapy and rehabilitation engineering at the University of Florida (UF). Eleven contributors—who largely represent the discipline of occupational therapy at UF—and an architect from Nebraska provide commentary on the design of the UF Gator Tech Smart House. The content is drawn from the proceedings of the 2003 International Conference on Aging, Disability, and Independence, which remain current today. The book’s 10 chapters discuss research and technological developments in engineering, computer, and rehabilitation sciences that focus on strategies and emerging technologies and promote and support the continued independence of older adults and those with disabilities.

The authors set the tone of the book in the first chapter by providing a thorough introduction and defining concepts, terms, and demographics of aging and disability. Part 1 (chapters 2–5) explores recent technological advances (such as home automation; robotics; technology for individuals with vision, hearing, mobility, movement, and cognitive impairments; and telehealth) and high-technology solutions to promote independence. For example, the chapter on telehealth includes a section on products and examines their advantages, limitations, and potential for the future, as well as legal issues. The emphasis of part 2 (chapters 6–10) is on basic assistive technology, driving, transportation, community mobility, home modifications, and universal design. An extensive list of resources that includes toll-free telephone numbers and Web sites is part of the chapter covering basic assistive technology and is particularly valuable; other chapters could benefit from the addition of similar information. Several chapters contain figures and illustrations that help clarify content.

This text is an excellent resource for students and professionals in the rehabilitation sciences. However, it is the reader’s job to connect the book’s content to the specifics of rehabilitation nursing.


Reviewed by Gwendolyn Walters, MSN BC RN, and Linda L. Pierce, PhD RN CNS CRRN FAHA