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Gerontologist. 2015 Jun;55(3):412-21. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnt166. Epub 2013 Dec 30.

Patterns of technology use among older adults with and without disabilities.

Author information

1
Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington. gell.n@ghc.org.
2
Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington. Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle.
3
Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle. Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle.
4
Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington. Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.
5
Center for Pain Research on Impact, Measurement and Effectiveness, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY:

The purpose of this study was to describe prevalence of technology use among adults ages 65 and older, particularly for those with disability and activity-limiting symptoms and impairments.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

Data from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study, a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries (N = 7,609), were analyzed. Analysis consisted of technology use (use of e-mail/text messages and the internet) by sociodemographic and health characteristics and prevalence ratios for technology usage by disability status.

RESULTS:

Forty percent of older adults used e-mail or text messaging and 42.7% used the internet. Higher prevalence of technology use was associated with younger age, male sex, white race, higher education level, and being married (all p values <.001). After adjustment for sociodemographic and health characteristics, technology use decreased significantly with greater limitations in physical capacity and greater disability. Vision impairment and memory limitations were also associated with lower likelihood of technology use.

IMPLICATIONS:

Technology usage in U.S. older adults varied significantly by sociodemographic and health status. Prevalence of technology use differed by the type of disability and activity-limiting impairments. The internet, e-mail, and text messaging might be viable mediums for health promotion and communication, particularly for younger cohorts of older adults and those with certain types of impairment and less severe disability.

KEYWORDS:

E-mail; Health status; Impairment; Internet; Text messaging

PMID:
24379019
PMCID:
PMC4542705
DOI:
10.1093/geront/gnt166
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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