Aging Ment Health. 2023 Sep 13:1-8. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2023.2256271. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Compared with younger and middle-aged adults, older adults are less likely to adopt new computer technology, potentially limiting access to healthcare and many other important resources available online. This limitation could impact cognitive abilities, well-being, and mental health outcomes of older adults. The aims of the present study were to increase access to online county and healthcare resources, while also assessing the impact of technology access on cognitive functioning and multiple well-being domains.
METHODS: A pilot community collaboration provided a two-month tablet training intervention, focused on increasing digital independence via tablet navigation, resources access, and fraud and scam prevention, to 20 low-income older adult participants (75% female, Mage = 70.85). Pre- and post-test phone interviews were conducted to measure any changes in digital independence, cognitive abilities, well-being, mental health, and mindset.
RESULTS: Linear mixed effects models revealed no significant changes in outcome measures from pre- to post-test. However, we found effects of digital independence on several well-being measures, providing important information for the impact of technology access and training for low-income older adults.
CONCLUSION: This pilot intervention offers limited but promising results, inspiring further investigations that may inform public health and policy services to address barriers to access and potentially improve psychological health.