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1 in 6 Caregivers Uses Mobile Technology

New study shows increased health-related mobile use among 50+

AARP released today an original survey titled "Health and Caregiving Among the 50+: Ownership, Use and Interest in Mobile Technology" that demonstrates that half of people 50 and older use — or are at least somewhat interested in using — mobile technology for their health. Among caregivers of people 50 and older, one in six uses mobile technology to track the health of their care recipient.

The majority of people 50 and older own some type of mobile technology and nearly eight out of 10 own a cell phone. Not surprisingly, cell phones are the most frequently mentioned mobile device that respondents say they take with them when they leave home.

While cell phones could be a productive means of communicating with this audience about health issues, respondents' receptivity varies by how the technology is to be used. There is, however, substantial interest in using mobile technology to track one's own health.

This study examined the ownership, usage and interest in handheld mobile technology among the 50 and older population and focused especially on whether people 50 and older take mobile devices with them when they leave home, and their current usage or interest in using mobile devices to manage their health or the health of someone 50 and older that they assist.

While cell phones could be a productive means of communicating with this audience, there are mixed findings about respondents' receptivity about how they are used. A minority of those 50 and older use a mobile technology to track their health, though a substantial proportion are at least somewhat interested in doing so. Interest waned, however, when asked about using mobile technology to share health information with a health care professional, tracking one's location with a GPS and using mobile technology to motivate or adopt healthy behaviors. The results show caregivers' interest also varies.

One in five adults provides assistance to someone 50 and older with activities of daily living. Among those, about one in six uses any mobile technology to help track the health of the person he or she is helping. Among those who use any mobile technology to track the health of the person they help, the vast majority reports using a cell phone or mobile phone to accomplish this task, and about one-third reports using a laptop or desktop computer to do the same.

You can read the full survey here.

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