Computer communication as an aid to independence for older adults

Sara J. Czaja, JosÉ H. Guerrier, Sankaran N. Nair, Thomas K. Landauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Computer and communication technologies offer the potential of improving die quality of life for older people by providing them with links to information and services outside of the home. This study examined die feasibility of older people using an electronic text message system to perform routine communication tasks. In addition information was gathered to identify design parameters which facilitate the interactions of older people with such computer based systems. A specialized and simplified ‘communication computer’ was placed in the homes of 36 older women, aged 50–95 years. The system was provided with: a simple text-editor, basic electronic mail functions and access to news/weather, movie reviews, and health information. Both performance data and user preference data were collected. Results indicated that the participants liked using the system, were able to use it with minimal difficulty, and that it provided a valuable means for social interaction and mental stimulation. The findings suggest that computer-based systems can be a valuable support tool for older adults if they are easy to use, and provide applications that are useful for them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-207
Number of pages11
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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