'That's for old so and so's!': Does identity influence older adults' technology adoption decisions?

Arlene J. Astell, Colleen McGrath, Erica Dove*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


The role of identity in older adults' decision-making about assistive technology adoption has been suggested but not fully explored. This scoping review was conducted to understand better how older adults' self-image and their desire to maintain this influence their decision-making processes regarding assistive technology adoption. Using the five-stage scoping review framework by Arksey and O'Malley, a total of 416 search combinations were run across nine databases, resulting in a final yield of 49 articles. From these 49 articles, five themes emerged: (a) resisting the negative reality of an ageing and/or disabled identity; (b) independence and control are key; (c) the aesthetic dimension of usability; (d) assistive technology as a last resort; and (e) privacy versus pragmatics. The findings highlight the importance of older adults' desire to portray an identity consistent with independence, self-reliance and competence, and how this desire directly impacts their assistive technology decision-making adoption patterns. These findings aim to support the adoption of assistive technologies by older adults to facilitate engagement in meaningful activities, enable social participation within the community, and promote health and wellbeing in later life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1550-1576
Number of pages27
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

Cite this