Perspektiven-abhängige Wahrnehmung von Altern und Pflege verbunden mit der Akzeptanz unterstützender Technik

  • Perspective-dependent perceptions of aging and care connected with the acceptance of assistive technology

Offermann-van Heek, Julia; Ziefle, Martina (Thesis advisor); Bollheimer, Leo Cornelius (Thesis advisor)

1. Auflage. - Aachen : Apprimus (2021)
Book, Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: Dissertationen / HCI Center der RWTH Aachen DIS14
Page(s)/Article-Nr.: xix, 293 Seiten

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2021


Demographic change and an associated rapid increase in the number of elderly people and those in need of care represent a major challenge for today's healthcare. This presents many countries with the additional challenge of dealing with an enormous shortage of personnel. Therefore, it is necessary to find innovative ways enabling elderly people to live as independently as possible at home, to support those in need of care in their home environment or in care institutions, and to relieve family and professional caregivers in their daily work. One way of providing this kind of assistance and relief lies in the use of assistive technologies and systems. Various technical solutions offer safety-relevant (e.g., emergency and fall detection, alerting and sending an emergency call) and relieving functions (e.g., reminder of medication, fluid intake, appointments).In addition to the technical possibilities and the potential of different types of support, however, the acceptance of future users of the corresponding technologies is essential for the sustainable use and successful integration of technology into everyday life. Previous research often looks at very specific technical solutions and equally specific user groups, often remains on a qualitative level, and studies tend to involve smaller samples. A comparison of different relevant user groups with regard to the acceptance of assistive technology in older age has therefore not yet been made. In addition, especially given the use of technology in the context of aging and care, wishes and needs regarding aging and potentially upcoming care are of importance, which have not been sufficiently investigated so far. This paper addresses these research gaps and therefore aims to analyze the relationship between perceptions of aging and care on the one hand and perceptions and acceptance of assistive technology on the other. With a focus on Germany, a wide variety of perspectives of future users (i.e., older and younger participants, women and men, ill and healthy persons, and persons with and without caregiving experience) were included in each step of the study and compared with each another. Thereby, the consideration of the two domains of 1) aging and care and 2) acceptance of assistive technology required the design of a multilevel research approach. First, a qualitative interview study identified relevant factors for perceptions of aging and care. Based on the results, survey instruments were designed to quantify perceptions of aging and careg. In addition, the acceptance of assistive technology was also quantified for a broad sample. Furthermore, a structural equation model was used to examine the extent to which perceptions of aging and care are related to the perceptions and acceptance of assistive technology. Finally, it was investigated whether and to what extent the identified theoretical acceptance model can be exemplarily transferred to reality. The results show that aging is predominantly associated with negative aspects and, among others, the topics of health, social contacts as well as autonomy and dependence are of particular relevance. The topic of care also has predominantly negative connotations, with the aspects of help and contact, wishes for future life, and autonomy and dependence being relevant factors. In contrast, the quantifying study revealed an average positive attitude of the participants towards aging, whereby it was influenced by the age, health status and care needs of the participants. Perceptions of care were characterized by, among other things, a strong need for independence. In addition to the age, health status and care needs of the subjects, their private expertise in the field of care and thus the perspective of caregiving relatives influenced the evaluation here. The analysis of the perception and acceptance of assistive technology revealed a positive attitude of the participants, whereby age, the presence of a disability and especially professional expertise in care, i.e., the perspective of professional caregivers, influenced the evaluation. In the context of modeling the overall relationships, the results showed that acceptance is influenced by perceptions of benefits and barriers, which in turn correlate with perceptions of aging and care. Therefore, an indirect correlation of perceptions of aging and care with acceptance of assistive technology exists. Finally, in a last step, it was shown that the identified acceptance model can be exemplarily mirrored into reality by analyzing realistic decisions on the use of assistive technology and identifying unique decision profiles. With its findings, this thesis makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the perception and acceptance of assistive technology in older age and care contexts. Due to the broad, heterogeneous samples, the results could be compared for different user perspectives and provide information about influencing user characteristics. The derived recommendations for technology development and health care should be considered in future planning and development in order to meet not only technical and political, but also user-centered and thus societal demands.