Technology use by rural and urban oldest old

James F. Calvert, Jeffrey Kaye, Marjorie Leahy, Kari Hexem, Nichole Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives: Technologies designed to optimally maintain older people as they age in their desired places of residence are proliferating. An important step in designing and deploying such technologies is to determine the current use and familiarity with technology in general among older people. The goal of this study was to determine the extent that community-dwelling elderly at highest risk of losing independence, the oldest old, use common electronic devices found in residential urban or rural settings. Methods: We surveyed 306 nondemented elderly age 85 or over; 144 were part of a rural aging study, the Klamath Exceptional Aging Project, and 181 were from an urban aging cohort in Portland. Results: The most frequently used devices were televisions, microwave ovens, and answering machines. Persons with mild cognitive impairment were less likely to use all devices than those with no impairment. Higher socioeconomic status and education were associated with use of more complicated devices. Urban respondents were more likely than rural ones to use most devices. Conclusion: Technology use by very old community-dwelling elderly is common. There are significant differences in use between rural and urban elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalTechnology and Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Geriatrics
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Rural
  • Survey research
  • Technology use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Information Systems
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics


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