S3.6 Gradations of digital inclusion in later life: A multi-cultural perspective
Chair: Andraž Petrovčič
Objectives: This symposium aims to offer new insights into the interrelations between various aspects of aging and their association with the (non-)use of information and communication technology (ICT) in later life. The presentations introduce novel findings on the role of ICTs in aging drawn from five studies conducted in four different countries. Overview: The symposium is composed of five presentations. The first presentation (Taipale) dwells into the often-neglected diversified array of ICT-based communication practices that older adults are using to maintain contact with family members. The second presentation (Grošelj et al.) explores how family solidary and digital inclusion can be fostered through younger generations helping older adults getting online. The third presentation (Lan Fang et al.) demonstrates that the interaction between age and other socio-economic factors is also relevant to understand and mitigate the age-related digital inequalities. The fourth presentation (Van Aerschot and Parviainen) discusses how social and assistive robots can contribute to a more inclusive and empowering older adults’ independent living at home. The fifth presentation (Nieboer et al.) provides empirical evidence of factors promoting favourable perceptions of a wearable assistive application aimed at improving the recovery of stroke patients in home environment. Conclusion: Participants attending the symposium will gain a nuanced understanding of ICTs and the challenge of aging. The impact of ICTs on different domains of older adults’ lives will be demonstrated through state-of-the-art mixed-method studies, including large-scale surveys, small-scale interventions, and cross-cultural qualitative interviews.
S3.6.1 Many shades of the “grey divide”: Senior technology users’ and non-users’
participation in electronically-mediated family communication
University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Background: Distinct digital divides have been found among senior people, who are too often treated as one consistent user group. Instead of focusing on the socio-demographic determinants of this so-called grey divide, this study examines the multiplicity of ways in which older technology non-users and limited users are engaged in electronically-mediated family communication. Methods: Qualitative content analysis of an interview data collected from extended families living in Finland, Italy, and Slovenia in 2015/16. Results: A variety of ways in which older family members (aged 75 or more) use digital technologies directly and benefit from indirect ‘proxy use’ and help received from family members are revealed. Conclusions: The “grey divide” is not only constructed by the linear effects of chronological age or socio-demographics, but it is also shaped by family setup, state of health, and earlier experiences with technology use, as well as by cultural differences/norms across different countries.
S3.6.2 Digital inclusion of older adults through proxy internet use (PIU)
Darja Grošelj, Vesna Dolnicar, Andraž Petrovcic
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Background: Internet non-use has become concentrated in vulnerable groups and, in particular, among older adults. For various reasons, such as physical or health conditions or lack of interest, older adults are unlikely to start using the internet themselves. PIU where internet users use online services on behalf of internet non-users is a form of indirect digital inclusion. This study examines determinants of older adults’ engagement in PIU. Methods: Multivariate analysis of survey data from a Slovenian nation-wide representative sample. Results: PIU is negatively associated with age, and positively associated with education and presence of children in household. Availability of (grand-)children as proxies and a larger number of potential proxies increase the likelihood of internet non-users’ PIU. Conclusions: Among internet non-users, typical patterns of exclusion are replicated in terms of PIU. Availability of intergenerational support as well as the extent of available support are important factors in digital inclusion of older adults through PIU.
S3.6.3 Understanding disparities of the digital divide: Recommendations for theory,
policy, and practice
Mei Lan Fang1, Sarah Canham1, Lupin Battersby2, Mineko Wada1, Judith Sixsmith3, Andrew Sixsmith1
1 Simon Fraser University, Canada, 2 Fraser Health, Canada, 3 University of Dundee, Canada
Background: The digital revolution opened up a new landscape of digital service and products for assisting older adults to live independently, manage age-related challenges, and sustain social participation. However, there are significant inequities associated with access and use of ICTs linked to the “digital divide”. To better understand how ICTs can be leveraged to serve aging Canadians, a realist review was conducted that made visible a consistent pattern of privilege that shapes ICT access and use over the life-course. Methods: A systematic search yielded 748 peer-reviewed articles with a final subset of 55 articles published between 2006 – 2016. Synthesis of existing knowledge, combined with deliberative dialogue sessions conducted with local stakeholders, explored the idea of the digital divide through the concurrent application of intersectional and life course perspectives. Results: Though age is important, our analysis revealed other markers of inequity, such as income, education, gender, and generational status among community-dwelling middle-aged and older adults. Conclusions: Findings can inform practice innovations to facilitate digital literacy, social participation, and seize new opportunities for policy development to mitigate the “wicked problem” that is the digital divide.
S3.6.4 Robots responding to care needs? Analysing design strategies behind the new
generation of care robots
Lina Van Aerschot, Jaana Parviainen
University of Tampere, Finland
Background: Assistive robotics are expected to prolong the independent living of older and disabled people. This is expected to transform care work and practices. Methods: We outline what kind of conceptions of care seem to prevail when robotic platforms are designed for human care. This theoretical paper is based on critical reading of literature on care and care ethics as well as care robots and their design strategies. Results: Two main approaches to the robotic technology can be traced: robots as instrumental particulars and robots for affectual bonding. Care, however, is about being attentive and responding to a person’s physical, emotional, and social needs. Conclusions: If robots are to make remarkable changes in the processes and practices of care they need to find a place in the network of actors taking part in care giving and receiving. Drawing on the actor-network theory, we propose a new care ecosystem formed by care givers, care receivers, devices, and technologies.
S3.6.5 Technology use and acceptance in the rehabilitation of stroke patients
Marianne Nieboer, Li-Juan Jie, Lydia Willemse, Ritch te Kampe, Susy Braun, Eveline Wouters
Fontys University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Background: Technology use and acceptance in older adults in general is influenced by complex factors and circumstances and, based on earlier research, has been summarized in a general model. Aim: To explore the applicability of this model in people after stroke, who used a wearable biofeedback system for gait training at home. Method: 15 stroke survivors (age range: 42-79 years) were interviewed during rehabilitation in the chronic phase (> 6 months after stroke). Participants received gait training at home and to stimulate further independent practice at home, were offered the “Stappy”, an individual biofeedback system. Acceptance of the system was studied using in-depth interviews. Results: Factors from the general model of acceptance of technology in older adults were recognised by participants using this specific rehabilitation technology. Attitude toward/experience with technology, and social support, were important factors influencing the use. Conclusion: The general model of acceptance and use of technology is useful when addressing specific rehabilitation technology.