Journal Article

Ageing and Technology: A Review of the Research Literature

Christina M. Blaschke, Paul P. Freddolino and Erin E. Mullen

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 39, issue 4, pages 641-656
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcp025
Ageing and Technology: A Review of the Research Literature

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While the ageing of the population around the world raises serious concerns about social security, pensions, long-term care, health care and family systems, digital-age tools have been proposed as possible resources to improve outcomes. Considerable literature has appeared suggesting that Assistive Technologies (ATs) and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) may improve quality of life, extend length of community residence, improve physical and mental health status, delay the onset of serious health problems and reduce family and care-giver burden. The goal of this review is to separate the evidence base for these claims from simple optimism about the ultimate value of technology-based tools. This is accomplished through an extensive examination of the empirical research literature in the field of ATs and ICTs as they relate to older adults and ageing populations. In this review, we describe how these technologies are being utilized by older adults and barriers to their use, and we identify what is known—based on scientific studies—about the utility and effectiveness of the technologies. Appropriate social work practice in the digital age requires knowing what tools are available and their documented effectiveness and limitations. This review will thus consider the implications of current research knowledge for social work practice, education and research.

Keywords: Ageing and older people; social work and IT; research and evaluation

Journal Article.  5373 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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