Perceived difficulty in everyday technology use among older adults with or without cognitive deficits

Scand J Occup Ther. 2009;16(4):216-26. doi: 10.3109/11038120802684299.


This study's purpose was comparing perceived relevance of and difficulty in use of everyday technology such as remote controls, cell phones, and microwave ovens, in older adults with/without cognitive deficits. Three groups included 157 participants; 34 had mild-stage dementia, 30 had mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 93 lacked known cognitive impairments. Data were collected in structured interviews with the Everyday Technology Use Questionnaire (ETUQ). Analyses revealed that participants with no known cognitive deficits (Group 3) considered a higher proportion of technologies relevant to their life situation than participants with mild-stage dementia (Group 1) and those with MCI (Group 2). Furthermore, participants with no known cognitive deficits reported the lowest mean level of perceived difficulty in everyday technology use, followed by those with MCI and those with mild-stage dementia. All three groups differed significantly (p <0.01; p <0.001) in perceived difficulty using technology, indicating that measurement of perceived difficulty in everyday technology use may sensitively detect changes resulting from MCI/dementia. Findings indicate that perceived difficulty in using everyday technology increases in people with MCI and is accentuated in mild-stage dementia. This calls for increased attention to these issues when assessing functional ability in daily activities of older adults with possible MCI/dementia, and for further research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Computer Literacy*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dementia*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Man-Machine Systems*
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Sweden