Currently accepted at: JMIR Aging
Date Submitted: Feb 28, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Mar 1, 2019 - Mar 8, 2019
Date Accepted: Apr 23, 2019
(closed for review but you can still tweet)
Mobile and Connected Health Technology Needs for Seniors Aging in Place: A Cross Sectional Survey Study
An increasing number of mobile and wearable devices are available on the market. However, the extent to which these devices can be used to assist older adults to age in place remains unclear.
This study was to assess older adults’ perceptions of using mobile and connected health technologies.
Using a cross-sectional design, a total of 51 participants were recruited from a senior community center. Demographics and usage of mobile and wearable devices, and online health communities were collected using survey questionnaire. Descriptive statistics was conducted to assess usage of devices and online health communities. Fisher’s exact test was used to examine the relationship between technology usage and having access to a smartphone.
The sample was primarily comprised of non-Hispanic White (68.8%), educated (76.5% any college), and female (70.6%), with an average age of 69.7(±8.2) years. All participants were insured and nearly all lived at home (94.1%). A total of 86.3% of the participants had heard of wearable health devices but most had never used them (62.7%). Over 80% expressed interest in using such devices, and were interested in tracking exercise/physical activity (90.2%), sleep (74.5%), blood pressure (66.7%), diet (60.8%), blood sugar (54.9%), weight (51.0%), and fall risk (45.1%). The greatest concern about using wearable devices was cost (60.8%), then safety (27.5%) and privacy (25.5%); a fourth reported having no concerns. They were mostly interested in sharing data from mobile and connected devices with their health care providers followed by family, online communities, friends, and no one. About 41% of the older adults surveyed reported having ever heard of an online health community, and roughly 40% of the participants reported being interested in joining such a community. Most participants reported having access to a smartphone (74.5%), and those with such access were significantly more likely to show interest in using a wearable health device (p<.001), and joining an online health community (p=0.05).
Our findings suggest that, while older adults are not currently using mobile and wearable devices and connected health technologies for managing health, they are open to this idea and are mostly interested in sharing data with their health care providers.
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