Seniors are not quite interested in going online to find responses to their health questions. They don’t even like to use the internet to fill a prescription or to contact doctors, a new survey says.
Even if most elderly persons have computers and cell phones, they don’t use them in matters concerning their health. However, they still use basic digital technology, while health instruments are available to the advanced features.
The authors state that the explanation is the fact that the devices are not adapted to seniors’ needs.
Seniors and Technology
The study involved the analysis of information coming from a national survey that focused on adults with ages over 65. All the participants in the study were independent and did not live in care facilities such as nursing homes.
The total number of respondents was around 7,600 seniors, which had been monitored from 2011 until 2014. The average age in 2011 was 75 years.
In 2011, 76% of the seniors had cell phones and 64% used a computer. However, only 40% used the internet, texting or email.
The percent of people that went online for medical information was of only 16. Three years after, the percentage went up to only 18%.
When it came to prescriptions, at the beginning of the monitoring, 8% used the internet, while in 2014 only 10% filled their medication demands online. The increasing trend was very slow, despite the advance in technology.
The percentage of seniors using the internet to contact doctors rose from 7% in 2011 to 12% in 2014.
When it came to health insurance issues, over three years only around 6% of seniors used the internet.
One of the downsides of the study is the fact that a large proportion of the participants quitted the survey or died because of their old age and various health conditions.
Another issue may be that the group of seniors had been selected in 2011, while the trend might have changed in the last years with more elderly people taking up the modern technology. Few individuals involved in the survey had college degrees or high incomes, two factors that act in the favor of the internet.
However, the scientists observed that the internet use seems to drop significantly after the age of 75.
As more hospitals and doctors have moved their businesses online, the elderly patients may be disadvantaged by this practice and may need help in handling health issues.
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