Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Multiple Perspectives on the Adoption of SMART Technologies in Elderly Care

Conference: The European Conference on Aging & Gerontology (EGen2022)
Title: Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Multiple Perspectives on the Adoption of SMART Technologies in Elderly Care
Stream: Lifespan Health Promotion
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Steriani Elavsky, University of Ostrava, Czech Republic
Kamil Janiš, University of Ostrava, Czech Republic
Lenka Knapová, University of Ostrava, Czech Republic


Background: In spite of everincreasing offering of SMART technologies, a wide gap exists between the development of new technological innovations and their adoption in everyday care for the elderly.
Objectives: To explore the barriers and concerns to the adoption of SMART technologies among different stakeholders.
Methods: The data from three sources were used: semi-structured in-person/virtual interviews with professional caregivers (n=12); structured email interviews with experts in the area of aging (n=6); an online survey of older adults (60+) attending a virtual university of the third age (n=312).
Results: For caregivers, the key barriers were: perceiving older adults as disinterested or incompetent in using technology; fearing how seniors may react to new technologies; preference for known and convenient strategies; own fears of using technology. Experts viewed technologies as essential but expressed concerns about cost, low digital competency of seniors, and lack of support/willingness to implement technologies in elderly care. Older adults reported few concerns overall but among mentioned concerns were: loss of privacy/autonomy; risk of data abuse/fraud; technical limitations; lack of ability/interest; limited usefulness (in specific subgroups/situations). Additonally, older adults´ ratings of usefulness of different technologies correlated with self-rating of digital competency (r=0.258, p<.001).
Conclusions: Older adults appeared to have more positive views of various technologies than caregivers, however their concerns varied by type of technology. Lack of competence and lack of support were among the common themes, suggesting that educationally oriented programs for both seniors and their caregives should be pursuit.

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