Last Updated on 29 Mar 2024

Factors affecting access to assistive devices among older persons: an analysis of Thai Older Persons Surveys from 2002 to 2017.


Ageing is often associated with declines in health conditions and daily living capacities directly affecting people’s abilities to enjoy social participation. Assistive devices are designed to maintain or improve functional capabilities among those with physical impairment. However, inequality in access to assistive devices has been observed in low and middle-income countries. This study aimed to understand health situations related to daily living capacities and explore factors associated with access to assistive devices among older adults in Thailand, using data from five rounds of the Older Persons Surveys conducted in 2002, 2007, 2011, 2014, and 2017 by the National Statistical Office. The findings showed that approximately 45-57% of the older persons had vision problems, and 14-19% experienced hearing problems. A decline in capacities was observed more among females than males. It was also more common among advanced age groups, particularly for hearing impairment. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with access to glasses, hearing aids, and dentures. The results indicated several significant associated factors including economic classes (wealth quintile 5 had 2.2 times higher access compared to quintile 1 for glasses, and 2.5 times higher for dentures); advanced ages (80 years and above had 1.8 times higher compared to those aged 60-69 years old for hearing aids, and 1.7 times higher for dentures); and education level (the bachelor/higher degree group had 2.8 times higher compared to the no formal education group for glasses). Policy measures to improve access to assistive devices should target older persons with lower economic and education levels, while starting at early older individuals to prevent detrimental consequences on the health and daily living capacities of older persons, leading to future care burdens and increasing healthcare costs.

Domestic Journal
Journal of Health Systems Research 2024;18:109-35.
Rittimanomai S , Witthayapipopsakul W , Vongmongkol V , Viriyathorn S
Viriyathorn S.