The Technology In Later Life (TILL) project is an International, Multi-centred Pilot study comprising of 2 countries (UK and Canada) and 4 sites (Milton Keynes, South Wales, Regina, McBride).
TILL aimed to explore technology use and behaviour among adults aged 70+ years. The focus of the TILL Project was to understand older adults’ perceptions and use or non-use of technology residing in rural/suburban environments.
A mixed methods approach for TILL was undertaken and participants were recruited from four different sites spanning urban and rural environments. A total of 37 participants completed an 80-item online survey and then participated in a semi-structured focus (recorded) group. Survey questions included types of devices owned and reasons for using technology (e.g., social networking, searching for information, online banking/shopping). The focus groups were a minimum of 60 minutes and transcribed. The questions explored the benefits and challenges of using technology, relating to issues such as access to and use of technology, learning how to use technology, privacy concerns, sharing of information (e.g., photographs on Facebook) and life-logging/Quantified Self habits.
Results highlighted several themes through initial and focused coding (Charmaz, 2014), including technology use habits, benefits of using technology, and challenges of using technology. For example, technology use was perceived/reported to be both functional and social as participants researched information, maintained their health and safety records, constructed communication pathways (e.g., social media, Skype) and engaged in leisure activities such as gaming and reading. While technology played a role in the participants’ leisure activities, which included searching for information, arts and crafts, online gaming and communicating with family members. Although these benefits showed a positive perception, some participants continued to be vigilant, including protecting their personal information and limiting their time spent on technology respectively. This study provides an insight into the prospects and opportunities that technology can have in the lives of older adults in addition to the barriers or challenges experienced as older adults embrace technology for communication and leisure engagement.
Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing Grounded Theory, 2nd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Dr. Hannah R. Marston (Lead), Research Fellow, School of Health, Wellbeing & Social Care, UK, Open University
- Dr. Charles Musselwhite, Associate Professor, Centre for Innovative Ageing, Swansea University, UK
- Dr. Rebecca Genoe, Associate Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology & Health Studies, University of Regina, Canada
- Dr. Cory Kulczycki, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology & Health Studies, University of Regina, Canada
- Dr. Shannon Freeman, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada