IT innovation and elderly: technology acceptance and use in the community

Funding Details
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
  • Grant type: Insight Grants
  • Years: 2016/17 to 2019/20
  • Total Funding: $95,220
Principle Investigator(s)

No partner organizations found.

Project Summary

Limited research in Information Systems (IS) has focused on technology and seniors who are often not part of the workforce, and not included in studies focusing on business units and organizations (McMurtrey et al., 2011). With the projected increase in the proportion of elderly in the society as the baby boomers move into retirement (Statistics Canada, 2016), and since seniors represent a financially secure market, it is important to understand their behavior in relation to technology. Information technologies (IT) present tools that may support the long-term needs of seniors, and recently we have witnessed a proliferation of consumer applications (Agarwal et al., 2010), which may enable new forms of interactions for them. Yet, little is known about Canadian seniors in relation to technology use, and the factors that may affect it. Grounded in the life course theory (Elder & Rockwell, 1979; Elder Jr, 1974, 1999) and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT2) (Venkatesh et al., 2012), this research uses a multiple methodology approach to answer the questions: What is the attitude and behavior of seniors in Canada in relation to technology and IT solutions that may support their needs in the community? What are the factors that affect the acceptance and use of specific consumer applications by seniors? What is the perception of seniors regarding the role of technology in addressing the challenges they face? In study #1, we plan to conduct a pan-Canadian survey of seniors that assesses their technology-related behavior based on dimensions and measures developed by McMurtrey et al (2011), and used in the context of seniors in the U.S. In addition, we will investigate on a [1-7] Likert scale the use of consumer technologies that have been discussed in the literature in relation to seniors including: home-based monitoring systems (e.g., fall detection systems, TM applications), wearable technologies (e.g., smart watches), and general e-health applications (e.g., making appointments, online support groups) (Czaja, 2016; de Veer et al., 2015). The national sample will include 1,500 seniors, selected based on quotas, which ensure representativeness of the actual distribution of the population in Canada. Study #2 focuses on a specific group of consumer applications related to telemonitoring technologies, which have been provider-driven and highly diffused, and investigates the factors that affect the acceptance and use of these technologies by seniors. Specifically, we will test the UTAUT2 in the context of these consumer applications by surveying seniors living at the Perley and Rideau Veteran's Health Centre (PRVHC), a not-for-profit centre for healthy living, serving 600 seniors in the community. The PRVHC will provide access to its facilities to survey the residents, and the instrument measures will be adapted from Venkatesh et al (2012) for the context of this research. Quantitative analyses will be performed to identify significant associations. Last, we propose to adopt a focus group technique, as an adjunct to the quantitative approaches used in the first two studies, to gain a better understanding of the needs and perceptions of seniors regarding the role of technology in addressing challenges they face or may be confronted with in the future. We will also explore staff's attitudes and needs as to the role of technology in supporting seniors and their care. A total of four focus groups from each site at PRVHC (10 participants each) will be held with seniors, and three focus groups with nurses and support workers, respectively. Demographic information will be collected followed by questions on the role of technology. Inductive analysis will be done to identify emerging themes from the discussions.

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