Older adults' preferences for Internet-based services: Type and content

Britt Klein, Kerrie Shandley, Suzanne McLaren, Lisa Clinnick

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Abstract

Objective(s)

The aim of this paper was to report on qualitative survey responses provided by older Australian adults regarding their preferences for Internet-based services and content.

Methods

Two qualitative questions (‘What type of Internet-based mental health and well-being (1) services, and (2) content would be of most interest to you?’) from a broader survey investigating the mental and physical health of older Australians were thematically analysed for commonly occurring themes. Eighty-nine participants aged 65 years or older (mean age = 71 years, SD = 5.30) responded to at least one qualitative question. Participants were primarily female (60%, n = 53), born in Australia (65%, n = 58), in a relationship (58%, n = 52), living in the community (79%, n = 70) and relatively well educated, with the majority having completed a university degree (38%, n = 34).

Results

Themes indicated that participants were most interested in Facebook-style services (n = 17), chat groups (n = 16) and email-based services (n = 4) designed specifically for older adults (n = 14). However, some concerns were raised regarding the trustworthiness of Internet-based services, with the largest proportion of participants (n = 22) noting that they were unlikely to use Internet- or social media-based services. The primary content-related themes were mental fitness (n = 34), grief and loss (n = 20), health information (n = 13), socialisation (n = 11) and physical fitness (n = 10).

Conclusions

Participants indicated interest in tailor-made Facebook-style services for older adults that allow them to communicate with their peers and create new social networks and incorporate content relating to strategies for working on mental and physical fitness, information on coping with grief and loss, as well as health information. These findings can be used by organisations to develop Internet-based services and content for older Australian adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-785
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Volume42
Issue number4
Early online date10 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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