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Perceptions of older people in Ireland and Australia about the use of technology to address falls prevention

Author(s)

MACKENZIE Lynette, CLIFFORD Amanda

Publisher(s):

Cambridge University Press

Falls are common events with serious consequences for older people. With an ageing population and increasing health-care costs, information and communication technologies (ICT) will have a potential role in future health-care delivery. However, research on technology acceptance in health care for older people is limited and its application to falls prevention is unknown. The aims of this study were to explore and describe the perceptions of community-dwelling Australian and Irish older people about their current use of technology, and the potential use of technology for falls prevention. Qualitative data were collected from three focus groups conducted in and around Limerick in Ireland, and three in the Sydney area, Australia. A total of 35 older people participated. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Four themes emerged from the data: (a) perceptions of vulnerability to falls, (b) preferences for exercise interventions, (c) participation in and ownership of technology, and (d) perceptions about applications of technology for falls prevention. As the use of technology is an instrumental activity of daily living, health professionals need to assess the capacity of older people to adopt these technologies, and provide falls prevention interventions to accommodate the technology skills of older people. Some participants were reluctant to embrace technology and barriers to the effective use of technology to assist in preventing falls may conflict with future health service trends. (Publisher abstract)


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