Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
A Home-Based Information Communication Technology Training for Older Adults: Effectiveness, Value, and Perspectives
Author Affiliations
  • University of New Hampshire
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Translational Research
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
A Home-Based Information Communication Technology Training for Older Adults: Effectiveness, Value, and Perspectives
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011520291.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011520291.

Date Presented 4/7/2016

Information communication technology (ICT) has immense potential for productive aging. This research demonstrates the effectiveness and value associated with a home-based personalized ICT training program for a small cohort of older adults in the community.

Primary Author and Speaker: Sajay Arthanat

Contributing Author: Kerryellen Vroman

PURPOSE: To investigate the effectiveness and value associated with an individualized home-based information communication technology (ICT) training program for older adults
RATIONALE: Current research shows that ICT adoption in older adults is dictated by their attitudes, personality, and idiosyncratic motivations. Therefore, it is critical to develop and test age-appropriate needs-driven training to promote the successful and sustainable adoption of ICT.
DESIGN: Longitudinal mixed-method design. A quasi-experimental study was conducted with 13 older adults. They received a 3-mo in-home ICT training by graduate occupational therapy students along with a personalized iPad. The training content was individualized to each participant across key occupational areas. Following the training, participants used the iPad for an additional 3 mo at their own pace and comfort level. Quantitative data were collected periodically on the breadth and frequency of ICT use, perspectives on technology, and perceived independence. Qualitative data were integrated using an end-of-study participant focus group and content analysis of trainers’ log sheets.
PARTICIPANTS: Participants were older adults, age 65 yr and older, living in the community. To be included, they needed basic computer knowledge including use of Internet and email. Subscription to a broadband Internet connection was preferred but not required. Individuals with cognitive impairment or residing in long-term care facility were not considered.
METHOD: Quantitative data were collected on a monthly basis spanning baseline, the training period, and the end of study at 6 mo. Instruments included an Internet Breadth Index by which participants logged their type of activities and frequency of activities carried out using ICT; the Survey of Technology Use, which measures an individual’s comfort with and predispositions toward technology; and a Perceived Independence questionnaire with a list of ICT-based activities derived from the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework. An end-of-study focus group and content analysis of trainer log sheets was conducted to complement the quantitative data. To assess the value of training objectively, participants were given the choice at the end of study to purchase the iPad from the research program or receive a comparable monetary compensation for their participation.
ANALYSIS: One-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to analyze trends in ICT use, nature and frequency of activities, comfort with technology, and perceived independence. Coding and thematic analysis of the qualitative data through independent review and triangulation by the research team.
RESULTS: A significant trend in participants’ breadth of ICT activities was evident (p < .05). Leisure-based ICT activities accounted for the significant increase. A positive trend in participants’ comfort with technology was noticed by the end of study (p < .05). The increase in perceived independence was marginal. Participant perspectives were identified under four themes: technology experiences, interactions with coach, training approach, and nature of activities. All but 1 participant took ownership of the iPad in the end.
DISCUSSION: The study established the feasibility and potential benefits in provision of home-based ICT training for older adults. Contrary to imposing a rigid structure, content, and pace on the training, an individualized approach seems to facilitate the inherent motivation of older adults toward ICT.
IMPACT STATEMENT: Occupational therapists can build the capacity of older adults to utilize the multifaceted potential of ICT and can thereby promote their social participation and community living. Implementing the training with a client-centered approach through meaningful content in the natural context is critical.