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Cognitive vs. chronological age as barriers to using wearable activity monitors in older persons

072-catalyst grant-2018

Project Description

Daily physical activity is a strong independent predictor of morbidity, mortality and independence. The use of smart devices (e.g., Fitbit) has the potential to positively affect older adults’ quality of life and decrease the use of expensive health resources. However, some members of this demographic group perceive high disability (i.e., cognitive and physical limitations) as a factor that makes it difficult to independently utilize smart devices. Subjective assessments of disability among older adults, viewed in the light of health decline, have received little attention both in literature and in practice. Moreover, individuals’ self-perception of their own age (i.e., cognitive age) has been found to be a better predictor of their behaviors towards using technology than their chronological age (i.e., number of years from birth). Hence, this interdisciplinary project has involved scholars from Information Systems, Health Policy and Management, Kinesiology, and Computing and Software to explore the effects of older adults’ cognitive age on their disability perceptions which can influence their adoption of smart devices.

 "The findings of this study help system designers to understand some of the main design elements that are necessary while designing smart devices for older adults."

— ​Maryam Ghasemaghaei



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